Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has entered the NBA's health and safety after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19. 

Embiid was expected to sit out Monday's meeting with the New York Knicks as planned rest on the first leg of a back-to-back, but the 76ers subsequently announced he had entered the protocols. 

According to ESPN, the four-time All-Star will now sit out for at least 10 days, ruling him out of Philadelphia's next five games. He could return against the Denver Nuggets next week with the 76ers on a six-game road trip. 

Embiid is averaging 21.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and a career-high 4.0 assists for the 8-2 76ers, who top the Eastern Conference despite having been shorthanded for much of the season.

The 76ers already had Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe in the health and safety protocols. 

They have won all four of their games without Harris, including a 113-103 success over the Portland Trail Blazers that Embiid was rested for. 

Danny Green sustained a hamstring injury in that game and was questionable to make his return against the Knicks. 

Philadelphia also remain without Ben Simmons, who has yet to feature this season as he seeks a trade. 

England captain Owen Farrell has been cleared to return to the squad after his coronavirus test was revealed to be a false positive.

The 30-year-old went into isolation and missed England's 69-3 over Tonga on Saturday after a PCR test taken on Thursday came back positive.

However, England revealed on Sunday that the result has been reviewed and determined as a false positive test.

He tested negative in subsequent PCR tests and has therefore been given the green light to link up with his team-mates at Pennyhill Park.

Farrell will be in contention to return to action for Eddie Jones' side when they take on Australia at Twickenham next Saturday.

Formula One has re-affirmed its commitment to China, announcing Saturday that its deal with the Chinese Grand Prix has been extended through 2025. 

The Shanghai race has not been contested since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The stop was omitted from the 23-race F1 calendar for the 2022 season that was announced last month, with the series saying it would return as soon as possible. 

F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali echoed those sentiments in Saturday's announcement of an extended deal. 

"While we are all disappointed we could not include China on the 2022 calendar due to ongoing pandemic conditions, China will be restored to the calendar as soon as conditions allow and we look forward to being back with the fans as soon as we can," Domenicali said in a release. 

Lewis Hamilton won the last race there and has been victorious in six of the 16 editions of the event, four more than any other driver. 

 

 

New York's newly elected mayor has no plans to change the city's coronavirus vaccination mandate, saying it is up to the NBA and Kyrie Irving to find a solution that will get the Brooklyn Nets star back on the court. 

The 29-year-old remains unvaccinated and is therefore ineligible to play home games at Barclays Center or games at the New York Knicks' Madison Square Garden.

Under current city restrictions, people in New York must have at least one coronavirus vaccine to enter indoor arenas, and mayor-elect Eric Adams told CNN on Friday the policy will remain in place when he takes office January 1.

"New York City is not going to change their rule," Adams said. "It is up to the NBA and Kyrie to come to a full understanding on how to keep him on the Nets and to continue to look at all of our athletes that are coming here. Again, I think the NBA and Kyrie [are] going to come to a conclusion on this."

Asked about Adams' remarks after the Nets' 96-90 road win against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash said he was not surprised. 

"I didn't expect the mayor to change the mandate," Nash told reporters. "We've just got to focus on our team. If we could have Kyrie back, we'd all be ecstatic, but we focus on our team, we keep building, we keep growing and hopefully we'll be a really good team at the end of the year." 

After a sluggish start to the season, the Nets have won four in a row and sit at 6-3 following Friday's victory. 

Irving would be eligible to play in most road games but the Nets said three weeks ago that Irving would not be with the team in any capacity until he can be a full participant. 

The seven-time All-Star has played just 74 regular season games in two years since joining the Nets, missing long stretches due to injury issues and personal reasons.

 

Last year, on the same team as high-profile team-mates Kevin Durant and James Harden, Irving scored 26.9 points per game. That dropped to 22.7 points in the playoffs as he was again restricted.

Dominic Thiem has confirmed he has been given a coronavirus vaccine and will return to action in Abu Dhabi next month with the objective of playing in the 2022 Australian Open.

The 2020 US Open champion has been out of action since suffering a wrist injury at the Mallorca Championships in June.

Thiem on Tuesday revealed he has made good progress with his recovery and will play in the World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event that will be staged from December 16-18.

The 28-year-old had stated he wanted to wait for a Novavax jab, but was urged by Austrian minister for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection Wolfgang Muckstein to take an alternative vaccine as his preferred choice would not be available until next year.

Thiem says he has now been vaccinated and is relishing getting back on court as he eyes a grand slam return in Melbourne in January.

"I am very happy to announce that my recovery is going well. The MRI I did today showed that my wrist injury has improved significantly," Thiem tweeted on Tuesday.

"A couple of weeks ago I started playing with soft balls and was able to switch to normal tennis balls during yesterday's practice session. My team and I strongly believe that I'll be ready to make my comeback later this year.

"I'll be returning to competition in December and will be playing the MWTC 2021 in Abu Dhabi – with the objective to return to the Tour for the 2022 Australian Open.

"Needless to say that the vaccine is needed to play both events, and in my case I have already been vaccinated. I saw recently some news about this and I had to make it very clear that I would get vaccinated. Hopefully the next time things won't be taken this far [sic] as I saw last week..."

Rafael Nadal is also set to return from injury in Abu Dhabi.

Novak Djokovic's participation at the Australian Open has been cast in doubt once again as Victorian premier Daniel Andrews indicated the state that hosts the event will not welcome those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Australian minister for immigration Alex Hawke revealed last week Djokovic, who has won a record nine titles at Melbourne Park, could only take part in January's tournament if he has received both jabs.

But the 20-time grand slam winner, who has declined to reveal his vaccination status, was given hope of competing after prime minister Scott Morrison said there would be exemptions should the state of Victoria – which includes Melbourne – agree.

However, responding to those comments on Wednesday, Andrews made clear his government would not apply for any sort of dispensation as it would not be fair on the other players and spectators who are fully vaccinated.

"The federal government manages the border and to the extent that anything the federal government says on this is clear, because their position has gone 180 from what the immigration minister said," Andrews said.

"What I'm making equally clear on behalf of every vaccinated Victorian who is doing the right thing... the only fair thing to do is to be very clear with every Victorian, my government will not be applying for an exemption for any unvaccinated player."

Recent reports suggested that over a third of professional players on the ATP Tour remain unvaccinated ahead of the 2022 Australian Open, which runs for two weeks from January 17.

Andrews added: "I'm not going to ask and actually require people sitting in the grandstand, people working at the event, to be vaccinated while players aren't.

"So we're not going to be applying for an exemption, so the issue is basically resolved."

Andrews also stated the same approach will be taken when Formula One returns to Melbourne in April next year.

Speaking last week, world number one Djokovic – who beat Daniil Medvedev earlier this year to win his latest Australian Open crown – told Serbian newspaper Blic: "Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne.

"I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

"I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open... I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes."

Julian Nagelsmann revealed he contacted Joshua Kimmich after the Germany midfielder hit the headlines as he admitted he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Bayern Munich, who are preparing to face Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal second round, have been without Nagelsmann after the former RB Leipzig head coach tested positive for coronavirus.

However, it was Kimmich who was the main point of interest after Bayern defeated Hoffenheim 4-0 as the 26-year-old explained he had not been vaccinated because he wanted further research to be conducted first.

Former Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was quick to assure Kimmich should do the responsible thing and get vaccinated, though Nagelsmann attempted to put an end to the saga at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"A lot of topics are often chewed through," Nagelsmann told reporters from his home during his virtual conference. "It is important that there is an exchange of views. Everyone then has to decide for themselves whether they have to give their mustard to everything.

"There are experts, they should express their opinion. Whether the federal government has to do that now, it has to know for itself. I am happy when everyone can concentrate on their job again."

Nagelsmann, who has been operating from his homemade "data centre", then revealed he had contacted Kimmich to discuss the interview while admitting it was up to the individual whether they should get vaccinated or not.

"I wrote to him after the interview," he continued. "I told him that there are certainly easier interview topics. That is the price you pay when you are in public.

"Enough has been said about it now. I also gave my opinion of what I thought about the vaccination – I now know how the symptoms progress.

"From this and in exchange with doctors I also noticed that the disease behaves differently after the vaccination. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide whether he can be vaccinated."

Nagelsmann will not be fit enough to return for the visit to Gladbach, though he could return against Union Berlin on Saturday.

His side have won all three games in his absence, dispatching Leverkusen, Benfica and Hoffenheim by an aggregate score of 13-1.

However, the 34-year-old revealed he finds comments that Bayern do not need a coach in his absence disrespectful, pointing towards the crucial interventions that are sometimes required on the touchline.

"The team is very good, no question about it," he added.

"I also have a very well-functioning coaching team. They are a tight-knit bunch, and we know each other very well.

"But I don't lie around at home and don't work on anything. I think it is sometimes a bit disrespectful when you claim that the team doesn't need a coach. There are always moments when you should intervene."

Milan playmaker Brahim Diaz is poised for a first-team return after testing negative for coronavirus.

The Spaniard has missed the last three games for the Rossoneri after contracting COVID-19.

Diaz, 22, was forced to isolate while Milan secured Serie A wins over Hellas Verona and Bologna either side of a Champions League defeat to Porto.

Ahead of Milan's clash with Torino on Tuesday, the San Siro club said on their website: "AC Milan announces that Brahim Diaz has tested negative to the COVID-19 swab test."

Diaz, on loan from Real Madrid, has scored three goals in Serie A this season and provided one assist.

Stefano Pioli's side will go top of the table if they avoid defeat at home against Torino.

Kevin Durant said nobody is hoping Kyrie Irving will return to "save us" after the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Charlotte Hornets amid protests in support of the absent NBA All-Star.

Irving is yet to play this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing with the Nets – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

Demonstrators gathered outside Barclays Center prior to Sunday's 111-95 defeat at home to the Hornets, showing their support of Irving.

After the Nets dropped to 1-2 for the season, Durant was asked about team-mate Irving and him being away from the championship-chasing franchise.

"It's three games in. Of course, we've got enough," Durant told reporters post-game after posting 38 points.

"We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor and he's a huge part of what we do, but it's not happening right now. So we've got to figure it out.

"But nobody's going to lose confidence while we're playing and hope Kyrie comes and saves us during the game. No, you've got to play."

James Harden was far from his best against the Hornets, going just six-of-16 shooting from the field for 15 points in 33 minutes, while he also tallied eight turnovers.

 

The former MVP endured an injury-hit first season with the Nets following his blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets.

"I'm just getting my confidence back," Harden said. "I'm a little hesitant. You guys can see it. Just making sure my confidence continues to build, and that's all that matters.

"We're at game three and hopefully my confidence -- not hopefully -- but my confidence will rise and will continue to get better as games go on, and I feel more confident and get that burst of speed like I'm normally used to. No worries at all."

Harden has also found himself drawing fewer fouls this season after the NBA introduced a rule change, aimed specifically at players who make "abnormal movements" to get to the free-throw line.

He only went to the line once against the Hornets, having averaged 4.0 attempts heading into the contest – his lowest average since the 2010-11 season (4.2).

"I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nets head coach Steve Nash said. "Some of them are definitely fouls still."

Nash added: "I think he’s got to stick with it. But they're just so alert and aware, and he's the poster child of these new decisions.  I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls.

"So, he's just got to stick with it, he’s got to keep going to the basket, and he's got to do what he does because a large portion of them are still fouls, and if he doesn't get fouls, he can still make plays.

"He can still finish them, and pass and do all the things that he does. So he's just got to continue as he finds his rhythm again after very little basketball for half a year. Keep attacking, keep attacking, and they're gonna respect his skill level and his ability to get guys on his shoulder and get to the basket."

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expects "very responsible" Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich to show he is a role model by taking the coronavirus vaccine.

Germany midfielder Kimmich stated that he wants to wait for further research to be conducted before he is jabbed.

The 26-year-old and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka started a 'We Kick Corona' initiative last year to help those affected by COVID-19.

Former Bayern president Rummenigge says Kimmich should not be criticised for wanting to know if there may be any long-term effects of being vaccinated but believes he should take the jab and will in the near future.

The Germany great told Bild Live: "First of all, I would like to say to Kimmich that he may be the Bundesliga player who has a role model function in many ways. 

"I know him as a great person, as his 'We kick Corona' initiative shows. Of course, it came as a surprise that he wasn't vaccinated. That has now led to a discussion. 

"In February of this year, I suggested that it would be wise to vaccinate footballers early – as an example for everyone else. 

"I've been horribly criticised. Now it has turned a little. What Joshua does is very responsible. He would like to wait for things like the long-term effects for himself and he is tested every other day. As a role model, it would still be better if he were vaccinated.

"I am convinced that he may be vaccinated soon. He is a totally responsible person and player. We can be very happy that he is part of these two teams in our country."

Rummenigge does not believe players should be left with no choice.

He added: "The compulsory vaccination does not lie with football, but with politics. Due to the fact that one or the other is not vaccinated in Bavaria, we now have a discussion. But that shouldn't be introduced through football."

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who is fully vaccinated, was absent for the Bundesliga champions' 4-0 hammerings of Benfica and Hoffenheim this week after testing positive for COVID-19.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is hopeful a crowd of at least 80,000 will be able to attend the Boxing Day Ashes Test at the MCG.

Melbourne residents this week celebrated coming out of a sixth lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

No city in the world has been locked down more than Melbourne, but further easing of restrictions have been mapped out by the Victorian government.

There is optimism that there will be a huge attendance when Australia do battle with England in the third Test in two months' time, provided vaccination rates continue to increase.

Andrews said on Sunday: "I want to see 80,000 plus people at the Boxing Day Test on day one, that's what I want to see.

"We are determined to deliver that. It won't be easy. I think selling the tickets will be pretty easy."

A crowd of 78,113 for the Anzac Day AFL match last April was the biggest at the MCG, which can hold in excess of 100,000 people, since the start of the pandemic.

Theo Hernandez has been cleared to return to action for Milan after recovering from coronavirus.

The 24-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from international duty with France nearly two weeks ago.

He was subsequently forced to sit out the Serie A wins over Hellas Verona and Bologna, either side of Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Porto in the Champions League.

However, Milan announced on their official website on Sunday that Hernandez's latest coronavirus test came back negative and he is now available for selection.

Stefano Pioli's side face Torino and Roma in Serie A over the next week, before hosting Porto and bitter rivals Inter in crucial games ahead of the next international break.

Fode Ballo-Toure has filled in during Hernandez's absence, but the Frenchman's return will be considered a huge positive for Pioli.

 

Since joining Milan in July 2019, Hernandez's combined 25 goals and assists has been bettered by only four defenders in Europe's top five leagues – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raphael Guerreiro (both 28), Achraf Hakimi and Robin Gosens (both 35).

The 93 chances created by Hernandez in Serie A over that same timeframe is third to Federico Dimarco (97) and Juan Cuadrado (114), the latter of whom has often played further forward.

Prior to being struck down by coronavirus, Hernandez played a crucial role in France's Nations League success with a 90th-minute winner in the 3-2 semi-final victory over Belgium and an assist for Kylian Mbappe's winner in the 2-1 final triumph over Spain.

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has explained his reasoning for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Bayern swept Hoffenheim aside 4-0 at home, with Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman scoring the goals.

It was the second match in succession that fully vaccinated head coach Julian Nagelsmann missed due to testing positive for the coronavirus, with the 34-year-old also not present for the 4-0 victory over Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Kimmich explained that he is not opposed to the prospect of getting vaccinated at some stage, but he wishes to wait for further research to be conducted.

"I just want to wait for myself when it comes to long-term studies [about the vaccine]," Kimmich told Sky Deutschland after the game. "Nevertheless, I am aware of my responsibility.

"Of course, I adhere to the hygiene measures. It is also the case that we unvaccinated players at the club are tested every two or three days.

"Nevertheless, it is not now that I am in any way a corona denier or vaccination opponent. I don't say categorically that I won't be vaccinated at all. It's just about the fact that I still have a few concerns. That is why it is very possible that I will be vaccinated in the future."

The Germany international was asked about the initiative 'WeKickCorona' started last year by himself and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka, and Kimmich explained that his aim was to help those affected by COVID-19.

"'WeKickCorona' was about supporting charitable institutions and non-profit purposes that support people who are in need due to corona," Kimmich said. 

"We have also donated money to Unicef, which then makes vaccines available. The point is that there are countries that do not have access to the vaccine. 

"I think everyone should make the decision for themselves. It [should not be] possible that someone has no access."

Julian Nagelsmann has set up a kitchen control room to guide Bayern Munich while he remains away from the team after a COVID-19 positive test.

Assistant head coach Dino Toppmoller will lead from the touchline when Bayern host Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, having also stood in for the 4-0 win at Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Despite being fully vaccinated, Nagelsmann learned that the flu-like symptoms he was experiencing in Portugal were caused by coronavirus.

He said he feels "a bit weak" and is wary of getting in the way of the work being carried out by Toppmoller and fellow assistant Xaver Zembrod.

"Still, I am trying to take control if possible," said head coach Nagelsmann.

"In isolation, I have built myself a little analysis centre with a big screen, iPad and laptop. I have different technical abilities now, also when it comes to the scouting feed for the game.

"It looks like a big data centre, right in my kitchen so that I have a short way to the tea kettle. I am positive that we will have a good impact. For training rhythm, this is not so bad because we don't really have training right now."

With such a heavy game schedule, Bayern's players are only ticking over between matches, rather than going through major sessions on the training pitch.

Nagelsmann is optimistic of being back at his Bayern desk in a matter of days, and says his positive test came as a jolt, insisting he had been trying to stay out of danger.

"I think we are all being cautious basically. This is hard, you cannot always say 100 per cent where you get the infection from," Nagelsmann said.

"I haven't done anything illegal or been at this party in Berlin where you had 22 people positive. I wasn't there, as an example. Basically, you never know. I was also a bit shocked.

"I just thought that I had a flu like many people at that time. For vaccinated people like me, things get less restricted and then you can also get infected easier.

"Of course, I went to a restaurant last week but I don't know... I couldn't find out where I got it from. I don't think you can, this is really hard. The virus you have in your body doesn't come with a number that makes it trackable. That's just how it is."

Bayern head into the weekend with a one-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

Nagelsmann is in his first season with the club, having left RB Leipzig at the end of last season to take over from Hansi Flick, who left Bayern to become head coach of Germany.

Before Leipzig, Nagelsmann cut his teeth with Hoffenheim, so he misses out on a reunion on Saturday.

Between 2016 and 2019, Nagelsmann managed Hoffenheim in 116 Bundesliga games, achieving a points-per-game average of 1.65, comfortably the best record of any coach of the club to have taken charge of at least five top-flight games.

On Saturday, Bayern will be looking to avoid a second successive home defeat in the Bundesliga, having been beaten 2-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt in their previous game at the Allianz Arena. The last time they lost consecutive league home games was in 2001 under Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nagelsmann was absent due to 'flu-like symptoms' as Bayern beat Benfica 4-0 in Portugal on Wednesday, maintaining their flawless Champions League group-stage record so far this season, with assistant manager Dino Toppmoller standing in.

The Bavarian giants have won each of their first three games in the competition, scoring 12 times and not conceding a single goal to sit five points clear at the top of Group E.

The club confirmed on Thursday morning that the 34-year-old, despite being fully vaccinated, had tested positive for the virus and will return to Munich separately instead of with the rest of the squad before isolating at his home.

As a result, Nagelsmann will miss Bayern's next league game at home against Hoffenheim on October 23, with Toppmoller set to continue filling in.

Bayern are one point ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

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