The Philadelphia 76ers included the guard Matisse Thybulle as ‘ineligible to play’ in Thursday’s game in Toronto against the Raptors, a sign that Thybulle also might not play in all three road games of a possible playoff series between the two franchises.
Last week, ESPN asked the four leading conference teams (Philadelphia, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics) if their rosters were fully vaccinated and therefore eligible to play in Toronto, where players must be vaccinated. in order to enter the country.
Miami and Milwaukee confirmed to ESPN that their teams are fully vaccinated, while Boston and Philadelphia declined to comment.
Beginning next Wednesday, the 76ers and Raptors would meet in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs as the 4th and 5th seeds.
Thybulle, who turned 25 last month, has developed into one of the best wingbacks in the NBA, averaging 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game. Only seven players in the league average at least one steal and one block per game and all of them play more minutes than Thybulle.
Thybulle’s absence would be particularly felt on a Philadelphia roster that lacks much defensive talent without him and the MVP candidate Joel Embidwho is also a potential candidate for the All Defensive Team.
If Toronto beats Philadelphia on Thursday, it would go a long way toward securing that first-round matchup for both teams. However, if the Sixers win that game and the final two, against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday and the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, they would be guaranteed to finish in third place, thanks to the Celtics and Bucks, who are currently tied with Philadelphia (49- 30), playing Thursday night at Milwaukee.
The playoffs are scheduled to begin on April 16 and 17, with Games 3 and 4 of the first round, due to take place in Toronto, likely to be played two weeks from Wednesday.
To be considered fully vaccinated in Canada, one must have passed two weeks after a single injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after the second injection of the two-dose vaccines. That would mean unvaccinated players would need to have received one dose of the vaccine to be fully vaccinated in time to play in every game of a first-round playoff series.
The most prominent example of a player who missed games because he was not vaccinated is the Brooklyn Nets star, Kyrie Irvingwho was unable to play in New York, either at Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden, before the city recently changed its vaccination rules to allow unvaccinated players and other athletes to play in home games.
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76ers: Thybulle ineligible to play in Toronto