Ben Simmons’ lower back injury “has all but dissipated” and the Sixers expect to have him back on the court if NBA play is to resume from the COVID-19 shutdown, according to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.
The hope of a mid-April return for the playoffs has been deferred, though sources tell ESPN that Simmons will be good to go as his lower back impingement has all but dissipated. “If the season resumes,” says a team source, “we’re expecting to have him.”
The last time Ben Simmons suited up for a game was February 22nd — a game against the Milwaukee Bucks in which Simmons played just four minutes before exiting due to injury. Since then, the Sixers have played eight games without Simmons before the COVID-19 crisis caused the league to shut down operations.
There hadn’t been a whole lot of information coming out about Simmons. With back injuries in someone with a near seven-foot frame, you can’t help but be concerned. But this is undeniably fantastic news for Sixers fans. Regardless of whether the NBA is actually able to resume play in a way that is safe for those involved, the Sixers need Ben Simmons at full health. He was making strides in many aspects of his game this season and his injury had potential to be a momentum killer. Now it sounds like not only is he healthy enough to return to play, he’s especially motivated to answer criticism.
“I know it’s going to come,” Simmons says. “It’s a matter of me being comfortable doing it. Some of that is getting the reps in. I can take a hook shot from the elbow, because I’ve done it so many times, I’m confident it will go in. It’s second nature.
“With 3s, it’s never been like that. I’ve got to make it a point of emphasis. I could be one of those guys shooting 30% right now. But I’d rather be one of those guys shooting 40%.”
“I feel like I want to take [3s] now,” Simmons said shortly before his injury, “as opposed to being asked to force them up. It could be during the playoffs. I’ve prepped so much for it, when I do it, it will work.”
MacMullan’s story referenced above goes on a deep dive into Simmons and his reluctance shoot from deep. It features input from Simmons himself as well as family members, a former coach, and even Brett Brown. I highly recommend you check it out.