Hours before the Philadelphia 76ers tipped off against the Memphis Grizzlies on Easter Sunday, Sixers rookie Tyrese Maxey was on the court warming up for the second set of a back-to-back.
With nothing holding him back at the time, Maxey had every intention of playing against the Grizzlies on Sunday. However, Maxey eventually found out that he was not eligible to participate in Sunday's event.
Roughly about a half an hour before tip-off, the Sixers ruled Maxey out for the evening. Considering he wasn't listed on the injury report prior to Sunday night, his eventual absence came as a shock.
According to the Sixers, Maxey was entered into the NBA's health and safety protocol. Therefore, the rookie was sent home and not only couldn't play in Sunday's game, but he also couldn't spectate from the bench.
Following the disappointing 116-100 loss to Memphis, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers offered an update on the rookie guard. "Just the protocol," Rivers said in regards to Maxey's absence on Sunday. "[He had an] inconclusive test."
Maxey is no stranger to COVID-19 issues. Before the 2020-2021 NBA season even started, Maxey was in the NBA's health and safety protocol at the start of training camp as he registered a positive test before coming to Philly for the first time.
Although he didn't test positive on Sunday, his inconclusive results came back too late for him to get re-tested and cleared for action. Therefore, Maxey had to miss Sunday's outing, which was unfortunate for the rookie considering the circumstances.
"You know, it's a shame too because this was a night where whenever Joel (Embiid) is out, we slide (Maxey) into the rotation," Rivers continued. "He can't catch a break right now. So, it is what it is."
As the 76ers' primary rotation struggled throughout three-quarters of Sunday's game, Rivers eventually cleared the bench and allowed all of the reserves to pick up some minutes. For a young player like Maxey, he could've really benefitted from that additional time. Unfortunately, an inconclusive test prevented him from doing so.