Six Sixers were listed as probable on the initial injury report for the team’s Thursday night game against the Heat, a significant improvement over recent games.
Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, Tobias Harris and Terrance Ferguson have all been named as probable after missing Tuesday’s game due to NBA COVID-19 protocols. Joel Embiid (back crunch) and Ben Simmons (left knee swelling) were also listed as probable, as was the case before the Sixers’ miniseries opened against Miami. Embiid played 39 minutes and gave the Sixers an overtime victory over the Heat on Tuesday with 45 points and 16 rebounds. Simmons fouled in the fourth period and had a poor night with five points, 12 assists and six turnovers.
The NBA announced on Wednesday that the Wizards-Pistons and Suns-Warriors games scheduled for Friday have been postponed as the ongoing contact tracing with Washington and Phoenix would prevent the teams from having the minimum eight players available. As of Jan.6, 16 new players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the league.
The Nets’ trade for James Harden naturally caught the attention of many fans on Wednesday, but the NBA is still in dire straits with COVID-19, with many teams either missing key players or unable to play at all. The league announced additional health and safety protocols on Tuesday.
Eight Heat players were still listed as absent for health and safety reasons in Wednesday night’s report, including Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic. Meyers Leonard was listed as questionable with a sprained left shoulder and Gabe Vincent was likely with right knee pain. If Leonard sits down and Vincent is available, the Heat would again be a minimum of eight players.
Miami still almost managed to beat the Sixers on Tuesday as Vincent, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson combined for 84 points. Rookie tall man Precious Achiuwa had 17 points and 13 rebounds in his first start, a daunting task against Embiid.