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If NBA season resumes, Ben Simmons expected to be ready to play for 76ers

Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 20: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during a game against the Brooklyn Nets on February 20, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Ben Simmons hadn’t played meaningful minutes in an NBA game since Feb. 11, a full month before the coronavirus forced a shut down of the NBA season. A nerve impingement in his lower back had him sidelined for the last eight games before the hiatus, and there were questions about whether he would return for the playoffs.

Now, if the league starts up again, Simmons is expected to be ready to go, reports Jackie McMullin in a wide-ranging story about Simmons at 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.”

With Simmons in the lineup, the Sixers become more of a postseason threat. He is an All-Star level player who averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game last season. He’s part of a long, athletic Sixers team that matches up well against the Milwaukee Bucks, but also a team with some floor spacing issues (which Simmons is at the heart of).

Let’s hope we get to see Simmons back on the court this season. Currently, while the NBA looks at scenarios for playing games without fans in a “bubble” somewhere, it’s unclear if the league will be able to restart this season, and if so when and what form everything would take. There’s just not enough information (and testing) right now.