January 17, 2021
The Sixers' scheduled game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday has been postponed as a result of contact tracing, Philadelphia's first game to be wiped out as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release from the NBA, the league announced it was Philadelphia's roster that caused the game to be postponed, stemming from contact tracing this is still ongoing as of this moment.
"Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Sixers, the team does not have the required eight eligible players to proceed with the scheduled game against the Thunder," the NBA said in a press release Sunday evening.
A team source who spoke to PhillyVoice on Sunday evening said the Sixers do not have any new positive tests to report for the team, the only good news in the short-term. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly afterward that the contact tracing is a result of Saturday's meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies, so the Sixers are certainly not out of the woods on this one yet. With the exposure being recent, the Sixers will have to wait-and-see if positive tests pop up for the team in the upcoming week.
The situation appears to be developing quite rapidly, and Philadelphia's pre-game injury report, submitted to the league for the 5 p.m. deadline, had just four players ruled out for the meeting with the Thunder, with all four players (Joel Embiid, Seth Curry, Mike Scott, Vincent Poirier) being planned for absences heading into the weekend. Both the Sixers and the Thunder were preparing as if they were about to play on Sunday, with the Sixers out on the floor and warming up shortly before the league announced the postponement..
Memphis' previous opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves, had multiple players test positive in recent days after a meeting with Memphis on Wednesday, postponing a matchup with the Grizzlies that was supposed to take place Friday. A positive test for any of the Memphis players who suited up for Saturday's meeting with Philly would be enough to throw things into chaos.
That appears to be what happened. In a Sunday evening report from the Memphis Grizzlies, the team announced that Jonas Valanciunas, who played in Saturday night's game against Philly, was ruled out for Monday's meeting vs. Phoenix after entering the NBA's health and safety protocol.
.@memgrizz status report, Jan. 18 vs @Suns:— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) January 17, 2021
Jaren Jackson Jr. (LT knee meniscus surgery recovery)
Jontay Porter (RT knee soreness)
Jonas Valančiūnas (Health and Safety Protocols)
Justise Winslow (LT hip displacement)
The Sixers play next on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics in the front half of a two-game set with their division rivals, though that game (and the two-game set) is certainly in some jeopardy based on where things stand today. When we have further details on the nature of the postponement, we will update this story with more information.
This story is developing.
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