“They won’t let me play,” Simmons told his brother Sean Tribe and several teammates via text.
Simmons was being kept away from the team shooting due to possible exposure to a team masseuse who returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test. Several players were asked if they had seen her that morning, but Simmons was the only one to say he had seen her.
“He answered the question honestly, without thinking about the implications,” said a source close to Simmons.
According to multiple sources, many members of the 76ers questioned whether Simmons had actually seen the masseuse or was just trying to quit playing. Simmons had only attempted 10 shots combined in Games 5 and 6. Simmons then let a possible dunk pass in the fourth quarter that became an inflection point in his tenure with the 76ers.
“If you’re trying to get ready for Game 7, you don’t really want to deal with it in the morning,” a source close to Simmons said. “Especially when the spotlight is already on you. “
The employee’s and Simmons’ test results came back negative, sources said, and he was cleared to play in the game.