Sixers' Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle out in COVID-19 protocols

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Storm of Sixers news includes Maxey, Thybulle in COVID protocols originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

“Never a dull moment,” Sixers acting head coach Dan Burke quipped Monday night to begin his pregame press conference.

No kidding.

A flood of Sixers news hit before the team’s first game of 2022, a home matchup against the Houston Rockets. The most notable: Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle are in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and out. Jaden Springer and Myles Powell remain out, along with head coach Doc Rivers. 

Thybulle had been listed as questionable beginning Sunday night. He missed seven November games in the COVID-19 protocols. 

Maxey tested positive for COVID last year and had to sit out the start of his first NBA training camp. The 21-year-old said at the time he lost his sense of taste and smell but felt fine otherwise. 

In Year 2, Maxey has been among the league’s most improved players as a starter in place of Ben Simmons, who requested a trade in the offseason and is still listed as out because of personal reasons. Maxey has averaged 16.8 points and 4.5 assists. He’s gone from 30.1 percent on three-point shots as a rookie to 38.0 percent.  

With Maxey out, Seth Curry and Shake Milton figure to assume more ball handling responsibility for the Sixers. Milton cleared health and safety protocols before the Sixers’ win Thursday over the Nets and is working his way back to full fitness. He shot 0 for 6 from the floor against Brooklyn. 

The Sixers signed Charlie Brown Jr. to a 10-day contract via hardship exception, the team announced.

A Philadelphia native and Saint Joseph’s product, Brown saw brief NBA action for the Mavericks last month. The 24-year-old began this season with the Delaware Blue Coats, posting 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Sixers' G League affiliate. He’s an athletic wing who likes to play fast. It appears unlikely he’d appear in the Sixers’ rotation unless the team experiences more injuries or COVID-related absences.

The final pregame news of note was two Sixers schedule changes. The team’s postponed game against the Pelicans is now set for Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. The NBA also moved up the Sixers’ scheduled Jan. 24 game against Houston to Jan. 10. 

Burke later cited Forrest Gump, saying the NBA is “like a box of chocolates” these days. Indeed, the Sixers aren’t the only team in the league who doesn't have a great idea what it's going to get because of COVID-19's impact.