The Philadelphia 76ers were without a host of players including All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid for their 115-103 NBA home loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The Sixers opened the week with the best record in the NBA but now face an uncertain future with a starting line-up fit for the preseason.
“COVID created this but the concern is not COVID now,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said.
“The concern is injuries.
Philadelphia tipped off without four regular starters – Simmons (sore left knee) and Embiid (back) due to injury, and Seth Curry and Tobias Harris over coronavirus concerns – and had to make do with just seven available players.
Curry tested positive for the virus on Thursday, and the ensuing contact tracing and COVID-19 health and safety protocols led to a slew of unavailable players.
The team met the minimum eight active players by including injured forward Mike Scott, who was not actually able to play.
Rivers said he didn’t think the game should be played as Philadelphia had their 20-game home winning streak snapped.
“We’ve got be very careful in how we navigate the next week,” Rivers said.
On a positive note, Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia’s 2020 first-round pick out of Kentucky, scored 39 points in 44 minutes in his first career start.
Gary Harris scored 21 points for Denver while star centre Nikola Jokic added 15 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the visitors cruised to victory.
Patty Mills had 21 points as the San Antonio Spurs won their third consecutive road game by outlasting the Minnesota Timberwolves 125-122 in overtime .
DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 38 points and Dejounte Murray added 22 with 14 rebounds for the Spurs.
The Spurs followed consecutive victories in Los Angeles over the Clippers and Lakers with a steady performance at Minnesota when they had just six turnovers to 16 for Minnesota.
NBL Next Stars alumni LaMelo Ball came off the bench and rewrote the NBA record books in the Charlotte Hornets’ 113-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The 19-year-old Ball had 22 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to replace Markelle Fultz as the youngest NBA player to record a triple-double by 177 days.
Elsewhere, the Phoenix Suns joined the Los Angeles Lakers at the top of the western conference standings with a 125-117 defeat of the Indiana Pacers, on the back of a career-high 34 points from Mikal Bridges.
Tyler Herro scored a career-high 31 points in the Miami Heats’ 128-124 victory over the short-handed Washington Wizards.
Other winners were the Milwaukee Bucks, the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers.