Report: 76ers' Drummond, Milton in COVID Protocols; Game vs. Pelicans Postponed

Adam WellsDecember 19, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Andre Drummond plays during an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Injuries and health and safety protocols have forced the postponement of Sunday's game between the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans. 

The NBA confirmed the decision to call off the game after a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium that the game was "in jeopardy" after the Sixers placed Andre Drummond and Shake Milton into the NBA's health and safety protocols. 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

NBA release on game postponements: <a href="https://t.co/SPwx0mRKrW">pic.twitter.com/SPwx0mRKrW</a>

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there is "optimism" that Philadelphia will be able to play Monday's game against the Boston Celtics. 

Charania noted three other 76ers were already unavailable for this game, while Joel Embiid, Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey were all questionable to play because of injuries. 

The Sixers previously placed Georges Niang into the protocols Wednesday. Furkan Korkmaz had already been ruled out against the Pelicans, his third straight game missed with a non-COVID-19 illness. 

Embiid is listed as questionable after rolling his ankle in the second half of Wednesday's loss to the Miami Heat. He did play 33 minutes the following night against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Maxey suffered a quad contusion against the Heat. Sixers head coach Doc Rivers held him out of Thursday's loss to the Nets. 

Seth Curry and Tobias Harry are Philadelphia's only starters not dealing with some type of injury or illness at the moment. Five reserves, including Matisse Thybulle and Charles Bassey, are still available. 

The NBA requires a minimum of eight players for teams to play. The Brooklyn Nets were in a similar predicament before their Dec. 14 game against the Toronto Raptors after seven players entered health and safety protocols before tipoff. 

Kevin Durant, who was questionable prior to the game, was upgraded to give the Nets eight players in uniform. 

Sunday night against the Pelicans is the first game of a back-to-back for the Sixers. After Monday, they don't play again until Dec. 23 against the Atlanta Hawks.