The NBA is teetering on the season’s second coronavirus-related game postponement, as the Philadelphia 76ers await the league’s ruling on the submission of a contact-tracing report of several players who shared close proximity to guard Seth Curry, sources told ESPN.
The Sixers’ list of seven players placed in the health and safety protocol based on close recent contact to Curry — who tested positive for the coronavirus — could leave them short of the league-mandated eight players required to start Saturday’s 3 p.m. ET game against the Denver Nuggets in Philadelphia.
The Sixers also had one staff member test positive Friday, according to a source.
For now, the Sixers are down to six available players: All-Star forward Ben Simmons, centers Dwight Howard and Tony Bradley, rookie guards Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe and guard Dakota Mathias.
The Sixers await the league’s evaluation of the circumstances surrounding those seven players’ individual cases to discover if it is possible that at least two of them could be cleared on Saturday to spare a postponement. The NBA’s contact-tracing guidelines could determine different clearances for different players, including isolation periods anywhere from zero to seven days.
After it was learned that Curry had returned a positive test for COVID-19 early in the Sixers’ loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night in New York, Curry was hustled off the floor and into isolation, sources said.
The 76ers were required to await the results of Friday testing at the team’s hotel in lower Manhattan before finally boarding a series of separate buses at around 11 p.m. ET on Friday for the drive back to Philadelphia, sources said.
The Nuggets flew into Philadelphia on Friday without talented young forward Michael Porter Jr., who continues to be sidelined under health and safety protocols for an indefinite period of time, sources said.
The Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder had an opening night game postponed when the Rockets had only seven eligible players.
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