On March 11, the NBA season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. That also happened to be the last time before Tuesday that the Sixers had given an official comment on Ben Simmons’ injury status. At the time, the Sixers said Simmons would be re-evaluated for the nerve impingement in his lower back in approximately three weeks.
In a conference call Tuesday, general manger Elton Brand said Simmons, who missed the Sixers’ final eight games before the league went on hiatus, is “doing really, really well.”
I give Ben and our medical staff a ton of credit for their hard work throughout his recovery,” he said. “I give Ben so much credit for him working so hard throughout this unknown time. Fortunately, we’ve able to arrange for him to continue to get the treatment and rehab he needs during this hiatus. I’m very optimistic he’ll be able to play if and when we’re given that green light to resume.
The Sixers are 6-5 this season without Simmons, the league leader in steals and a strong candidate for an NBA All-Defensive Team. Though NBA practice facilities have been closed, Brand noted that Simmons has been allowed to use the Sixers’ facility in Camden, New Jersey, because of his injury.
“Ben and others have been given permission to use our facility," Brand said. "It’s essential that they have the proper equipment to workout and rehab, so he’s been doing that ever since the first week. We were able to get him access there.”
Would Simmons be playing if the postseason was currently taking place?
Brand wasn’t prepared to give a definitive answer, though he portrayed Simmons’ progress in a positive light. ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan had reported on April 21 that Simmons would be “good to go” if the season resumes.
“It’s tough, because with him not playing 3-on-3, 5-on-5 — just to speculate there,” Brand said. “But when I FaceTime him during his workouts and his treatments and I see him, I’d be highly encouraged. His ramp-up would be different. We’ve taken our time, we’ve been methodical and thoughtful about his recovery and rehab, making sure, because we weren’t in a rush. It’s hard to speculate. He’s been working hard and I know he’d be close or ready.”
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