The Philadelphia 76ers will be without one of their premier perimeter defenders every time the team comes north to Toronto in their first-round playoff series against the Raptors.
"It sucks," said Matisse Thybulle, who told reporters in Philadelphia that is not fully vaccinated and therefore prohibited from entering Canada and playing the Raptors.
Federal legislation in both Canada and the United States prohibits the entry of any foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine. While Thybulle said he has received one shot of the Pfizer vaccine, he decided against going through with the necessary second shot to become fully vaccinated and therefore cannot play in Toronto.
"This was a decision I made a long time ago," Thybulle told reporters Sunday night. "I was raised in a holistic household where anti-vax is not like a term that was ever used. It's a weird term that's been thrown around to just label people, but we grew up with Chinese medicine and naturopathic doctors and just with that upbringing, coming into this situation, I felt like I had a solid foundation of medical resources that could serve me beyond what this vaccine could do for me. As things escalated and as this situation has played out, I've obviously had to reconsider and look at it differently and, to that point, it got to the point last year during the playoffs where I did actually consider getting vaccinated and went through with getting the first dose.
"At that point, I was under the impression that getting vaccinated would mean I could not get the disease and transmit it to other people. I felt like if I’m going to be a part of society in the position I’m in, I need to do what’s right for the greater good. That argument of the greater good held a lot of weight for me. As things progressed, as the virus has changed in many different ways, it just showed the signs that wasn’t the case anymore. Even while being vaccinated, you could still spread the disease. For me, in my reasoning, it felt like getting vaccinated was not something I needed to do to protect other people and was something that I would have to do to then protect myself. With that being considered and the holistic background of my upbringing and the way I view medicine in general, I felt like I was secure in, not treating myself, but going to the doctors that I have to treat COVID if I did get it. And in the case that I did, I was able to go about it in my holistic way. I mean, I’m able to sit here today healthy and okay because of it.”
His decision will make him unavailable for Games 3 and 4 in Toronto and presumably for Game 6 assuming he does not immediately receive another vaccination and wait the necessary two weeks before becoming fully vaccinated.
Without Thybulle, the 76ers have moved Danny Green into the starting lineup. It's an offensive upgrade for Philly as Green is a much better three-point shooter and floor spacer, but the defensive difference between the two is stark. The 76ers have been 3.2 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Thybulle is on the court and have a net rating of +1.6 when he plays.