The NBA’s new Player Participation Policy will be put to the test on the third day of the regular season for two very different circumstances.
In the nightcap, the Suns will be without both Bradley Beal (back) and Devin Booker (toe) against the Lakers in Los Angeles. While Beal missed the opener against Golden State, Booker played through that toe injury, and the league will be looking in to whether this is a violation of the policy, which doesn’t allow for two former All-Star players to rest in the same national TV game.
While many teams will be keeping an eye on how the league handles that situation, the early game also features a much funnier potential fine outcome. The Sixers will be in Milwaukee to face the Bucks on TNT, but will not have James Harden who returned to the Sixers on Wednesday after a 10-day absence but was left in Philly — quite literally, as he apparently showed up to the airport ready to go and was told he couldn’t get on the plane by security.
That means a healthy All-Star (i.e., one not on the injury report) is sitting out a national TV game, which could be in violation of the policy. The NBA confirmed to Adrian Wojnarowski that they would be looking into the circumstances and would need a valid reason for the absence.
Philadelphia is playing a national TV game against Milwaukee tonight, which requires the Sixers to provide the league with a valid explanation for why a healthy recent All-Star isn’t playing. Harden returned to the Sixers on Wednesday after being away for 10 days on what team and… https://t.co/L6HljfBBej
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 26, 2023
Whether they consider “ramping up to play from a non-injury related absence” a valid reason for Harden to be away from the team will be fascinating, and while that almost certainly won’t come into play for any other teams in the NBA this season, it does add another layer to the Harden saga in Philly.