Ben Simmons Skips Individual Workout, Won’t Play Friday

3:25pm: Simmons is expected to come early to the 76ers’ shootaround on Friday to meet with team leadership to discuss his playing status, reports Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

2:08pm: Simmons told Sixers staff members he was experiencing back tightness on Thursday and briefly received treatment for it, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Being diagnosed with a legitimate injury would be one way for Simmons to avoid participating in practices and games while still being paid. However, the team’s medical staff cleared Simmons to participate in his scheduled workout today after he received treatment on his back, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Charania (Twitter link), Simmons won’t be available for Friday’s game and isn’t expected to play for an “undetermined amount of time.”

1:39pm: After being suspended for the Sixers‘ regular season opener on Wednesday, Ben Simmons showed up at the team’s practice facility on Thursday, but left without taking part in his scheduled individual workout, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

Simmons’ status for Friday’s game in Philadelphia vs. the Nets remains up in the air, but it seems unlikely that he’ll play in the 76ers’ home opener since he has yet to fully engage in a team practice, says Wojnarowski.

Simmons, who has pushed for a trade for months, ended his holdout and reported to the Sixers 10 days ago, then resumed practicing with the team over the weekend. However, he has reportedly not been physically or mentally engaged in those practices. On Tuesday, head coach Doc Rivers threw Simmons out of practice when the 25-year-old refused to sub in during a defensive drill. His one-game suspension was announced shortly thereafter.

Subsequent reporting from Shams Charania of The Athletic indicated that the Sixers don’t expect to find a trade they like for Simmons in the coming days, and want him to show up for – and engage in – practices and games. Sources tell Charania that the three-time All-Star isn’t against the idea of playing again for Philadelphia as he awaits a trade, but isn’t mentally prepared to do so yet.

The Sixers didn’t hold a practice today, but Simmons is scheduled to return to team activities on Friday, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. It’s unclear if the team would continue to suspend him if he remains disengaged.

As Windhorst details, the rest of the Sixers were able to escape the Simmons drama for a few hours on Tuesday night when they gathered for a team dinner in New Orleans in an effort to clear the air.

“It’s good to just go out and kinda not talk about basketball and talk about life,” Joel Embiid said. “That’s also an evolution for me, because I usually, when I used to go on the road, I’d just like to stay in my room and be on the phone and play video games.”

The 76ers followed up that dinner with an impressive road victory on Wednesday over the Pelicans. They’ll face a stiffer challenge on Friday against Brooklyn.

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