76ers' Joel Embiid Out vs. Bulls Amid Quarantine; Ben Simmons Will Miss 2 Games

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2019, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, right, and Joel Embiid talk during an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in Philadelphia. Simmons says he’s 100% healthy following surgery on his left knee in August that kept him from playing in the postseason. Simmons is tight with center Joel Embiid and says the two franchise stars are ready to lead the Sixers to their first NBA championship since 1983.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will miss more time following the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. 

The NBA announced the pair are in the middle of a seven-day quarantine following contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, per the New York Times' Marc Stein.

Embiid will miss the Philadelphia 76ers' game against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday but could be cleared as soon as Friday if he continues to test negative. Simmons will miss that contest, as well as Friday's game against the Washington Wizards, but could be cleared on Saturday.

Both players missed Sunday's All-Star Game as well. Simmons was supposed to play for Team LeBron, while Embiid was in the starting lineup for Team Durant.

This is clearly a massive short-term loss for the 76ers, as the pair of All-Stars is the primary reason they have the best record in the Eastern Conference at 24-12. The team won its final two games before the All-Star break and is 4-1 in the last five.

The quarantine will also briefly strip Embiid of an opportunity to make another individual statement in the MVP race.

The big man is averaging 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game this season and is competing with LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry and others in the MVP race.

Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.6 steals a night as a triple-double threat every time he takes the floor.

The tandem puts the 76ers on the shortlist of championship contenders, so they will surely need both back and healthy as soon as possible to fulfill expectations.