The numbers may be down and life slowly sliding toward a new “normal” in most of the nation, but the pandemic is not gone and is still impacting lives.
It’s also impacting the NBA — the 76ers Tobias Harris and the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love are both away from their teams indefinitely after being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Harris came as a surprise — he warmed up with the team pregame but was scratched about 30 minutes before the 76ers took on the Trail Blazers, reports Noah Levick at NBC Sports Philadelphia. There are not a lot of details — did Harris test positive or is this contact tracing related — and the team will know more about the situation and how long he is out in the next 24-48 hours, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Harris has been critical to the 76ers 4-2 start without Ben Simmons, averaging 19.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game. Furkan Korkmaz got the start for Harris on Monday night against Portland, a game where Philadelphia was already without Joel Embiid for a scheduled rest day.
Kevin Love also tested positive on Monday and will be out indefinitely, the team announced.
Love has played a solid veteran role for the Cavaliers off the bench (behind standout rookie Evan Mobley), averaging 9.9 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. This is a blow to a Cavaliers team off to a 3-4 start and picking up some quality wins. Here is what the Cavs’ coach said, via The Athletic.
“It’s a huge impact,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said about Love’s absence. “Not only Kevin as a player, but him as a person around the locker room and on the floor with the guys, helping the young guys through a lot of things that they’re seeing. He makes their job easier as a basketball player.”
With Love out, expect some Lauri Markkanen at the four (he has played the three so far) and some Dean Wade minutes as well.