Ben Simmons had missed the Sixers‘ last eight games due to a back injury and was projected to be sidelined indefinitely when the NBA suspended its season in March. However, the four-month layoff has paid off the former No. 1 pick, who confirmed this week that he’s fully healthy and ready to participate in the NBA’s restart, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes.
“I’m feeling better than I was when I started the season,” Simmons told reporters on Thursday. “But I’ve been working since I had the injury, working ’til now to prepare for whatever happens, wherever we go. So I’m feeling great, I’ve been rehabbing this whole time, so I’m feeling ready. And I’m feeling very comfortable.”
Some players, especially those with a history of injuries, have been apprehensive about participating in the NBA’s restart, given the brief ramp-up period to the eight seeding games and the playoffs. However, Simmons didn’t express any reservations about the league’s plan.
“Wherever my team is, I feel like it’s my responsibility to go down there and represent Philadelphia in the highest way possible, and I think this is the right way to do it,” Simmons said, per Bontemps. “If we’re safe down there, and I trust in what the NBA is doing, and they’re taking extreme precautions with this. So I feel like if we’re all going, I’m in. I’m with my teammates and I never would want them to go down and not expect to see me there. So I’m all-in with my team.”
Here’s more on the 76ers:
- Head coach Brett Brown acknowledged on Wednesday that the offensive fit of his starting lineup – especially when Al Horford has been part of that group – has been “clunky.” However, as Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia details, Brown believes the group is “built for the playoffs” and will weigh potential roles for Horford and Shake Milton during the training camp period. “In a perfect world, you’d like to go into those eight (seeding) games and have some minor tweak and rotation changes as opposed to Game 5 and, ‘Oh, crap, we’ve got something that’s a little bit funky here,'” Brown said.
- In a separate story for NBC Sports Philadelphia, Hudrick profiles DePaul forward Paul Reed, suggesting that he’s the sort of versatile prospect the Sixers should target with one of their second-round picks.
- Ryan Broekhoff‘s wife has an auto-immune disease and the couple has a one-year-old son, but the veteran sharpshooter ultimately decided to join the Sixers for the NBA’s restart, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We spoke to (76ers GM) Elton (Brand) and spoke to (Brown) and just wanted to get some more information of how the bubble would be down in Orlando, and if anything happens at home, what are my options to get back and take care of my family,” Broekhoff said. “… I think the opportunity in the end was too hard to pass up.”