As Philadelphia 76ers stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday for Sunday's 2021 NBA All-Star game, they found out that their private barber back in Philly returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test.
On Sunday morning, the two stars were set to do media appearances via Zoom. However, Shams Charania of The Athletic suddenly reported that their status for Sunday night's game was in question due to the inconclusive COVID test.
As Sixers head coach Doc Rivers addressed the media himself following the initial reports, he made it known that there was a slim chance Embiid and Simmons would play in Sunday night's All-Star game due to contact tracing.
It turns out he's correct. Shortly after Rivers' press conference concluded, the NBA officially ruled out Simmons and Embiid as their private barber returned a positive COVID-19 test. In a statement, the league announced the following:
"Prior to traveling to Atlanta, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons had contact with an individual who is confirmed today to have tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result, Embiid and Simmons will not play in tonight's All-Star game."
Had the two been ruled out for contact tracing earlier, the league might've looked for last-minute replacements. After all, the NBA entered Utah Jazz veteran Mike Conley into the game on Friday night as Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker is nursing an injury.
However, considering Simmons and Embiid are now ruled out on the day of the game, the NBA does not have enough time to get players tested and ready to participate on Sunday night. Therefore, there will be no replacements for Simmons and Embiid, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.