Sixers Rumors

Sixers, Simmons Evaluating Treatment Options For Knee Injury

2:27pm: Evaluating Simmons’ treatment options could take a few days, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who says the hope is that a season-ending scope on the knee can be avoided.

12:03pm: After leaving Wednesday’s game with a knee injury, Sixers star Ben Simmons has been diagnosed with a subluxation of the left patella, the team announced today. In layman’s terms, that’s a partial dislocation of his left knee cap.

According to the Sixers, Simmons will be ruled out for the time being as he and the club evaluate treatment options. The All-Star guard/forward will definitely be sidelined for Friday’s contest against Orlando — it’s unclear how many more games he may miss after that, but the injury is typically more than just a day-to-day issue.

On the plus side, the MRI on Simmons’ knee didn’t show any ligament damage, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 76ers have five more seeding games to play before the postseason begins, and their position in the Eastern Conference standings is reasonably secure. Philadelphia is currently ranked sixth in the conference and won’t slip any further than that. Moving up to fourth or fifth remains a possibility, but is unlikely to be a top priority for the team.

With Simmons sidelined, the Sixers will have to shuffle their starting lineup, with big man Al Horford among the top candidates to return to the starting five. Getting back Mike Scott (knee) and Glenn Robinson III (hip) would provide more depth to help make up for Simmons’ absence, but we don’t know yet when they’ll be able to return.

Growing Momentum For Jim Boylen To Keep Job?

There appears to be strong growing momentum for Bulls head coach Jim Boylen to retain his current position, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who reports that financial considerations are expected to play a key role in the decision.

Nearly three months ago, Cowley reported that new Bulls executives Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley were believed to be leaning toward making a head coaching change after receiving a “mixed bag” of feedback on Boylen from Bulls players. Cowley writes today that the team’s top basketball operations execs had even reached out through back-channels to potential candidates such as Sixers assistant Ime Udoka and Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin.

However, the Bulls’ financial landscape has changed over the last few months. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who doesn’t have a reputation for aggressive spending, has claimed that financial losses for the Bulls and his Chicago White Sox are “in the nine figures.” There’s also ongoing uncertainty about what the 2020/21 NBA season will look like and how the coronavirus pandemic may continue to impact team and league revenues.

Although he cautions that the situation is fluid, Cowley suggests that the Bulls’ financial situation has greatly increased the chances of Boylen’s return. It doesn’t help matters that there are still no plans in place to have the NBA’s bottom eight teams conduct some form of organized offseason activites. Karnisovas has previously spoken about wanting to evaluate Boylen in such a setting, but he may not get an opportunity to do so.

ESPN reported last month that the financial strain caused by the pandemic may make teams around the league less inclined to change coaches this offseason, so the latest update on Boylen doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Still, as Cowley rightly points out (via Twitter), it’s not as if replacing Boylen with a first-time coach like Udoka or Griffin would be exorbitantly costly for the franchise, at least in relative terms. Boylen is making just $1.6MM and a first-time coach could potentially be hired for a salary in the $2.5MM range. The league’s highest-paid coaches – Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich – are reportedly earning $10MM+ per year.

Ben Simmons (Knee) Considered Day-To-Day

Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who left Wednesday’s game due to a left hamstring injury, doesn’t appear to have suffered a serious injury, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sources tell Charania that tests on the hamstring showed no significant damage, and Gordon is expected to be re-evaluated in “several days.”

Although Gordon’s recovery timeline is unclear, it sounds like he’ll at least miss Friday’s game against Philadelphia. He has been listed as doubtful for that contest, according to the team, which tweets that the forward’s injury is being called a hamstring strain and he’ll be day-to-day after Friday. The Magic’s remaining seeding games are against Boston (Sunday), Brooklyn (Tuesday), and New Orleans (next Thursday).

One more Magic win or one more Wizards loss would secure Orlando a playoff berth, so the team will likely play it safe with Gordon in the hopes of having him back for the start of the postseason. Still, the Magic will be motivated to finish strong, since they’re currently a half-game back of the Nets for the No. 7 seed in the East.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Ben Simmons left the Sixers‘ win over Washington on Wednesday with a left knee injury. According to Shams Charania (via Twitter), an MRI on Simmons’ knee came back clean and he’s considered day-to-day. Philadelphia continues to jockey for positioning in the playoff race but is guaranteed to finish no lower than sixth in the East, so they won’t rush Simmons back.
    [RELATED: Update on Simmons’ knee injury]
  • Jimmy Butler (right foot soreness) is listed as out for the Heat‘s game on Thursday vs. Milwaukee, tweets Eric Woodyard of ESPN. Butler also missed Tuesday’s game, the second of a back-to-back set, but his ailment isn’t believed to be serious.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along word on Wednesday night that Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (calf) will miss Thursday’s game and that Nets guard Jamal Crawford (hamstring) will be sidelined for “a few” games.

Glenn Robinson III Talks About Experience Inside The Bubble

  • In an interview with Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, Sixers forward Glenn Robinson III talked at length about his experience being a veteran inside the bubble. Robinson, who was traded from the Warriors in February, believes he was acquired not only for his shooting and defense, but also for his leadership. “I think I was brought on this team for some of that. I feel like they know how I am in the locker room,” Robinson said. “I get the respect of every teammate I’ve had a chance to play with. I may not say a lot. But I get the respect because you’ve got my respect and I have your best interest as my teammate.” Robinson has not played in any of Philadelphia’s seeding games due to a left hip pointer injury that he suffered during the scrimmages.

O'Quinn Missed COVID Test

A missed coronavirus test cost Sixers big man Kyle O’Quinn any chance to play on Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. O’Quinn, who tweeted that it “slipped my mind,” became ineligible for the game because of his no-show but can rejoin the team upon a negative test.

  • With Ben Simmons shifting to power forward, the Sixers have a glaring point guard issue, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Shake Milton, who moved into the starting lineup in their seeding opener against Indiana, posted no points, three assists and three turnovers in 19 minutes, though he bounced back with a strong showing – and a game-winning shot – on Monday.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Robinson, Harris, Barton, Mills

Joel Embiid missed the Sixers’ last two scrimmage games due to right calf tightness. However, he’s expected to play on Saturday in the team’s seeding opener against the Pacers, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid suffered the calf injury during a July 24 scrimmage against the Grizzlies and played just 13 minutes. He also battled injuries prior to the stoppage of play in March. He missed nine games with a torn ligament in his right hand, and sat out five others with a left shoulder sprain, Pompey notes.

The Sixers can improve their playoff seeding during the next eight games. They are tied for fifth place in the East with Indiana at 39-26.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Sixers forward Glenn Robinson III is doubtful to play on Saturday, Pompey notes in the same story. He has a left hip pointer, which he suffered during a scrimmage against the Thunder on Sunday.
  • The Nuggets will go without at least two key players in their seeding opener on Saturday, the team’s PR department tweets. Guard Gary Harris has a right hip muscle strain while Will Barton is dealing with right knee soreness. Reserve big man Vlatko Cancar (left foot fracture) will also miss the game. Starting point guard Jamal Murray is questionable duo to left hamstring tightness.
  • Spurs veteran guard Patty Mills didn’t play in the team’s first game in Orlando but it wasn’t injury-related, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk tweets. Coach Gregg Popovich simply wanted to use his younger guards more extensively. Shooting guard Bryn Forbes‘ absence was injury-related — he’s dealing with a sore right quad.

Embiid Wants To Finish Career With Simmons

Sixers center Joel Embiid said he’d like to play with Ben Simmons for his entire career, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype relays. Embiid made that comment during the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast.

“I love him and I want to be with him for the rest of my career because I think he still has a lot of potential and we can get so much better than we are by now,” Embiid said of his Sixers teammate. “I don’t see the point of ever playing with somebody else. That’s someone that we love to be playing with for the rest of my career.”

Both stars are locked into long-term deals with the Sixers. Embiid’s contract runs through the 2022/23 season, while Simmons can’t become a free agent until the summer of 2024.

Sixers Notes: Burks, Embiid, Injuries, Simmons

Alec Burks made a strong case for an increased role during the Sixers‘ three scrimmages, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Burks continued his impressive play Tuesday, posting 15 points and seven assists in a loss to the Mavericks.

Burks averaged just 20.2 minutes per night in 11 games after being acquired from the Warriors at the trade deadline. Bodner notes that Burks’ ability to handle the ball gives the Sixers more flexibility in how they use Ben Simmons.

“I think that what we’re seeing is he’s got an innate gift to score. He can create his shots all by himself,” coach Brett Brown said after Tuesday’s game. “I didn’t play Ben in the second half. (Burks) had to assume a lot on that point guard responsibility, given that I didn’t really want to extend Shake’s (Milton) minutes. I thought he did that well and we learned a bunch of things from the minutes that he played.”

There’s more Sixers news to pass along:

  • Joel Embiid, who is dealing with tightness in his right calf, sat out his second straight scrimmage, Bodner adds in the same piece, but Brown expects the star center to be ready Saturday when the Sixers play their first reseeding game. “I am always sort of receiving news from our medical staff,” Brown said, “but that is my expectation.” Glenn Robinson III, who has a left hip pointer, and Raul Neto, who is experiencing discomfort in his lower back, were also held out of the scrimmage.
  • Simmons’ switch to power forward has been a hot topic of discussion in Orlando, but he insists he’ll play the same way regardless of position, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. The move was made to keep Milton in the starting lineup, while shifting veteran big man Al Horford to a reserve role. “I haven’t really been looking at the position,” Simmons said. “When I’m put in different situations, I’m able to succeed. These past two (scrimmages), I’ve been doing well. I can always do better. There’s a lot I need to work on. Overall, I’m getting that flow back and I’m feeling really good.”
  • Bodner and Rich Hofman of The Athletic examine the new starting lineup and assess the Sixers’ chances of making a long playoff run in Orlando.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Thibodeau, Wanamaker, Hall

Sixers star Ben Simmons has undergone a fundamental change in his thinking when it comes to shooting threes, according to head coach Brett Brown, as relayed by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Simmons has reached a new level of familiarity behind the arc, becoming more and more comfortable with taking three-pointers as the year’s progressed. He attempted a pair of threes in the team’s scrimmage against Memphis on Friday, connecting on one in the corner.

“Just playing,” Simmons said. “We’ve been practicing, working on just finding that corner. I’m very comfortable over there, and I’ve been shooting those shots, so I’m glad my teammates are finding me.”

Brown has used Simmons at power forward since landing in Orlando, testing a lineup that features Shake Milton, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Simmons and Joel Embiid in limited time. The team is hopeful Simmons can build on his new position and thinking in the longterm, especially in a league primarily centered on spreading the floor.

“I get excited [watching it] … He doesn’t flinch,” Brown said. “The sport told him, ‘I’m open, nobody is guarding me, shoot it,’ and he did. There was no hesitation about what’s next, or, ‘What decision do I have to make now?'”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division today:

  • Former Knicks center Joakim Noah believes Tom Thibodeau is a perfect hire for the organization, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes. Noah, who was coached by Thibodeau in Chicago from 2010-15, praised his defensive tenacity and winning ways after the news broke. “Defense and practice habits,” Noah wrote in a comment on social media. “The Knicks are in good hands. All he cares about is hoop. Perfect fit.” Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year agreement with the organization, according to ESPN.
  • Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker is taking advantage of his opportunity with the team, Taylor Snow of writes. Wanamaker has earned the respects of his teammates as a natural leader, averaging 6.6 points, 2.5 assists and 19.3 minutes as a back-up point guard this season. He recorded nine points, four rebounds and four assists in the team’s scrimmage win against Phoenix on Sunday, logging 21 minutes.
  • Nets big man Donta Hall has practiced with the team for the first time since inking his contract earlier this month, Zach Braziller writes in a separate story for the New York Post. Despite not playing in Saturday’s scrimmage against San Antonio, Hall is expected to receive action in the coming days with the team. “We’ll be able to see if we’re able to have some growth from him during this bubble period and he definitely should get some minutes to help us along with these games,” interim coach Jacque Vaughn said.

Joel Embiid Day To Day With Calf Issue

Sixers center Joel Embiid will be held out of today’s scrimmage due to discomfort in his right calf, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid experienced discomfort in the calf area during Friday’s game with the Grizzlies, and his status is considered day-to-day (Twitter link). He will be re-evaluated tomorrow, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Al Horford will take Embiid’s spot in the starting lineup, adds Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). The Sixers had been hoping to use the scrimmages to adjust to their new starting lineup, with Horford in a reserve role.

“I feel that it’s an opportunity — truly, not coach speak, not political speak, truly — to play Al more, to put him with some different groups,” coach Brett Brown said (video link from Pompey). “I think if this had happened three, four games into what we’re calling the regular season, there’s always frustration, and I know frustration at times for Joel, but initially we’re just trying to be smart with everything and move on.”

Embiid has a long injury history and had just returned from a shoulder sprain when the hiatus began. He has appeared in 44 of the Sixers’ 65 games this season and is averaging 23.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per night.