PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia 76ers will face the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs after finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference. They’ll be without a key contributor in Canada because one of the players is not fully vaccinated.
The Sixers will have their full roster available for home games of their first-round series against the Raptors, but they’ll be shorthanded when they travel to Toronto, down their defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle because he’s not fully vaccinated.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Teen Pilot Who Landed Plane On Bridge In Ocean City Shares How He Survived New Mexico Plane Crash
“Unfortunately, the repercussions of that are gonna be me missing games and not being there for my teammates,” Thybulle said. “From fans to coaches to front office to teammates, there are people who are upset and people who don’t understand, but ultimately, I’ve been lucky enough to have them voice that they may disagree, but they still support me in my decision-making.”
Thybulle spoke about his status Sunday night, explaining he got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last year and had every intention of getting the second dose until he found out it does not prevent people from spreading the virus.
“Even while being vaccinated you could still spread the disease, so for me and my reasoning, it felt like getting vaccinated was not something that I needed to do to protect other people and was something that I’d have to do to then protect myself,” Thybulle said.
Thybulle defended his decision not to get fully vaccinated, arguing he comes from a holistic household.READ MORE: Police: 4-Year-Old In Stable But Critical Condition After Being Struck By SUV In West Philly
“We grew up with like Chinese medicine and naturopathic doctors. Just with that upbringing, coming into this situation, I felt like I had a solid foundation of medical resources that could serve me beyond what this vaccine could do for me,” Thybulle said.
Head Coach Doc Rivers now says someone will have to step up in Thybulle’s absence.
“Against Toronto with that size, or someone else, Furk may play the position because we’re one short when we’re on the road, so we’re going to need someone,” Rivers said.
Rivers has already ruled Thybulle out for Games 3 and 4 and potentially Game 6 if the series goes that far.MORE NEWS: Jordan Burnham Turns Suicide Attempt Into Years Of Advocacy As Teens Face Epidemic Of Depression
Game 1 is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday in South Philadelphia.