No Plans To Replace Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons For NBA All-Star Game as COVID Protocols Rule Them Out

Published 03/07/2021, 1:44 PM EST


The league’s worst nightmare has come true. The deadly coronavirus has breached the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, not directly though. Philadelphia 76ers duo Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons came into contact with a person who tested positive for the virus.

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Both of them haven’t reported confirmed positive tests yet. But the league’s rules state that if you come into contact with a person who records a positive test, you have to quarantine for seven days even if you don’t record a positive test result yourself.

Jan 27, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) celebrates with guard Ben Simmons (25) and center Joel Embiid (21) after scoring the game winning basket during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It is a Deja Vu of Kevin Durant‘s case just a month ago. The officials pulled him midway through an NBA game in his case.

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This time for Simmons and Embiid, it is through their common barber in Philadelphia, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. On the bright side, the two didn’t yet enter the Atlanta bubble and have contact with the other players. So, the others are thankfully averse; otherwise, it would have been catastrophic for the league and the players’ teams.

Normally, when they rule out a player, they also make an announcement to replace them. Mike Conley replaced Devin Booker recently, who was himself an injury replacement for Anthony Davis.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: DeMar DeRozan (L) and LeBron James play during the 67th NBA All-Star Game: Team LeBron Vs. Team Stephen at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

But as per Wojnarowski, there are no plans to replace them yet. While Embiid was a starter for Team Durant, Simmons was serving as a reserve for Team LeBron.

Zion Williamson to replace Embiid in the NBA All-Star Game starting lineup

On the bright side, it gives an opportunity for one of the reserves to be instated into the starting lineup. That lucky player is 20-year-old Zion Williamson. The New Orleans Pelicans star is as much of a like-for-like replacement as was part of team Durant’s roster.

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At 20 years old, he does become one of the youngest starters in this exhibition game’s illustrious history. We can safely say that is quite a phenomenal achievement for a player who carries huge expectations on his back. This does go a long way in fulfilling some of those.

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Bharat Aggarwal

754 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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