It was supposed to be a scheduled off night for Joel Embiid, as the Philadelphia 76ers play the front end of a back-to-back on Monday against the New York Knicks.
Now the Sixers will be without two young stars for a stretch of games. Embiid tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN and The Athletic, while Ben Simmons remains away from the team, saying he’s not mentally prepared to return.
The Sixers are starting a six-game road trip that will include a West Coast swing that includes stops in Utah, Denver and Golden State. Per the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Embiid will be away from the team for at least 10 days or as soon as he returns two negative tests within 24 hours.
Joel Embiid, who is averaging 21.4 points and 9.4 rebounds, could be lost for five games.
If he is isolated for the full 10 days, he could miss give games. Andre Drummond is expected to replace Embiid in the starting lineup. Embiid has also battled knee soreness all season.
Sixers teammates Tobias Harris, Matisse Thubulle and Isaiah Joe are also in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Embiid is averaging 21.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists (a career best) through nine contests this season. Philadelphia, 8-2, is in first place in the Eastern Conference.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joel Embiid tests positive for COVID-19 and could miss five games