If the game between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers is played on Tuesday night, both teams will be without a plethora of players, including key contributors. On Monday, the Heat listed the following players as out due to being placed in the league's Health and Safety Protocols amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo, Moe Harkless, Udonis Haslem, and KZ Okpala. These players come as an addition to Avery Bradley as he was already in the protocol.
The 76ers, meanwhile, were forced to play with just seven active players for their game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday after Seth Curry received a positive COVID-19 test result. An injured Mike Scott was forced to dress for that game so that the Sixers would have the league-mandated eight available players. Prior to the game, Sixers coach Doc Rivers made it clear that he didn't think that the Sixers should be forced to play, and he expressed concern about the health of his players, given the fact that they were going to be forced to play major minutes.
"I don't think we should [play], but it's not for me to express that," Rivers said to media members. "... I trust the league and I trust the doctors as far as health-wise. I'm more concerned with health on the floor. We're gonna play players that haven't played a lot of minutes. And that's not just for today, that's long-term health with the accumulation of games. The numbers we want to stay away from with our players. So I'm actually more concerned with that than I am, actually, about COVID. And I am concerned about COVID. I think everybody is. The league is, and everyone else is, as well. So yeah, it's a lot of stuff going on."
Rivers didn't get his wish, which seems strange since the league has postponed several games since, including the game between the Heat and Boston Celtics on Sunday night. Given all of the absences occurring across the league's landscape due to COVID-19 protocols, there have been some external calls for the NBA to pause the season for a week or two, but the league isn't eager to do so. A special Board of Governors meeting has been set for Tuesday, and at that point decisions regarding the continuation of the season will be made.