Joel Embiid And Ben Simmons Will Miss The NBA All-Star Game Because Of Contact Tracing After A Haircut (UPDATE)

The NBA has already extended one late invite to a player to the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta due to an injury, but some very late changes may also be in store due to contact tracing. According to reports on Sunday morning, Philadelphia 76ers stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid may miss the mid-season showcase due to contact tracing efforts after a trip to a barber shop.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on the situation, which stemmed from a trip for one of the players to get a haircut. The barber who did the trim, however, later had an inconclusive COVID-19 test result, which puts the two stars at potential risk to not only have contracted the virus, but also expose others to it while on the court and at other abridged All-Star festivities.

The reporting, both from Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, makes it clear that the Sixers players didn’t appear to have broken any of the various protocols the NBA put in place for contact tracing and restrictions for travel for the All-Star Game itself.

As Wojnarowski reported, both are still expected to do media sessions later in the day, and a ruling on whether they can play will come soon. But it wasn’t looking good as of Sunday morning.

Later Sunday, reports indicated the barber in question did, indeed, test positive to further put their status in doubt.

It’s another reminder of just how prevalent coronavirus still remains in America, even as vaccines continue to help the population and case counts in some places diminish. Despite all the protocols and plans and sequestering a league can do, things can still go wrong and put people at risk for exposure.

UPDATE: Simmons and Embiid were both officially ruled out of the All-Star Game by the NBA on Sunday morning, and the NBA will not be replacing them given it is the day of the game, per Woj.

The only options would have likely been Trae Young and John Collins if both still happened to be in Atlanta, but given that Embiid and Simmons were each on different rosters, it’s no surprise they will move forward with 11 players each. As for roster shuffling, Zion Williamson will become a starter for Team Durant in Embiid’s place.