What is going on behind the scenes with Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons? Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis this week, and a recent situation involving the Philadelphia 76ers epitomizes the problem.

Last week, Sixers guard Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19 midway through his team’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. He was immediately yanked from the outing, but not before he visibly spent a considerable amount of time with his teammates.

During an appearance on the Posted Up podcast with Chris Haynes, Yahoo Sports insider Vince Goodwill detailed what transpired immediately after the game.

“The 76ers decided that night [after Seth Curry being pulled from the second half of game vs. Nets due to a COVID-19 test that came back positive] we are going to stay in New York while everything gets sorted out,” Goodwill said.

“What I have gathered was that Ben Simmons left New York that evening. He left New York and went to Philadelphia. Gotta…you know…apparently probably hired a driver from a service…..the team clearly found out.”

Because the league is now hyper-vigilant about personnel ignoring COVID-19 policies, the matter didn’t end there.

“Here’s the one thing that we do know, Chris, because of the restaurant protocols and everything else that certain restaurants in places that you can’t go to,” he continued. “There are no restaurants in New York City that are approved [by the NBA], so if a team is staying in New York City they need to stay there,” Goodwill continued.

“Apparently Ben Simmons said, ‘Nah, I’m out’ … I’m headed out, got a driver, went back to Philly. I believe the team found out. And I believe team security, as you know, team security knows these things, they’re like the CIA, you know what mean? They know what the writers are doing. This is like some serious stuff.

“So, they find out, Ben Simmons has to come back … and magically he ends up on the injury report the next day, not playing. Who knows how you want to connect the dots.”

Simmons ended up missing Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets due to a knee issue, as well as Monday’s showdown against the Atlanta Hawks.

Prior to Monday’s game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers attempted to clarify what specifically was plaguing Simmons.

“I probably should have said knee swelling over stiffness,” he said, per USA Today. “To me, it’s the same thing and that’s basically what I meant, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with last year, or at least I don’t know that let me put it that way, but it bothered him. He was talking about it after the Brooklyn game and this early in the season, we’re just trying to go with the more safe than sorry approach right now.”

So far this year, Simmons is averaging 13.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists per outing – with both the scoring and assists outputs currently at career lows.

It will be interesting to see whether Simmons will ultimately be able to get back on track this year, or whether the self-fulfilling prophecy of him getting traded will come to fruition.

This article first appeared on Game 7 and was syndicated with permission.

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