The drama surrounding Ben Simmons is constant at this point, and there’s no sign that the three-time All-Star will be suiting up to play for the Sixers just yet.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported the latest development in this situation, explaining that Simmons has spoken with Sixers staff members about experiencing back tightness and underwent brief treatment.
The Sixers' medical staff cleared Simmons to participate in the workout after the back treatment, sources tell ESPN. The Sixers had hoped to see Simmons in the workout today and have him go through shoot-around on Friday morning prior to game vs. Nets. https://t.co/WygyAnShmz— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 21, 2021
The Sixers didn’t have a formal team practice on Thursday, but as Wojnarowski noted, they were still hoping to see him participate in a workout. Especially as the medical staff quickly cleared him to participate.
Shams Charania provided a further report, reiterating that Simmons is “not mentally ready” to play yet and he will miss the team’s home opener on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Sources: 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons is currently not mentally ready to play for the team and was receiving treatment on his back today due to ramp up process. He will miss Friday’s home opener vs. Nets and is not expected to play for an undetermined period of time.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 21, 2021
It never seemed like there was much of a chance Simmons would appear in the Sixers’ season opener or their first home game. He doesn’t want to be in Philly, and with reports of how disinterested he’s been in practice — which has included him refusing to participate in drills and being thrown out of Tuesday’s practice — it’s no surprise at all that he won’t be playing in the Sixers’ home opener.
Now that Simmons has mentioned health concerns to the team as well, it makes sense that there’s no timeline for when (or if) he’ll actually play in a game for the Sixers.
When Doc Rivers was asked at Tuesday’s practice why he’s wanted Simmons to rejoin the team, he gave a simple response. “Because he’s a good player,” Rivers said. “He can help us. Listen, the one thing I know about players is our players will welcome anyone back in that wants to be in. I also know that players will not welcome anyone that doesn’t want to be in. And so when that time comes, I guarantee you it won’t be a hard thing to do. That I know.”
With Simmons remaining inactive, the focus for the Sixers’ actual play as a basketball team remains on Joel Embiid, his supporting cast, and young players like Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe who are ready to embrace larger roles.