Ben Simmons went through an initial evaluation on his back Sunday in Philadelphia, will have an additional evaluation Monday and is out for the Sixers’ game tomorrow night vs. the Atlanta Hawks, a team source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.
Simmons missed Thursday’s game vs. the Nets with lower back soreness and irritated the injury in the first quarter Saturday night against the Bucks.
Head coach Brett Brown said Thursday that Simmons was injured at the team’s practice Wednesday.
“It was a play where he went up for a rebound and I looked over and he left the court, and went and got treatment,” Brown said. “And it has played out as it has played out. We don’t believe it’s anything too significant.”
After drawing a foul on Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez with 7:21 left in the first on a running hook shot, Simmons put his hands on his knees and appeared in discomfort. He stayed in to make 1 of 2 free throws, and the Sixers then had Matisse Thybulle commit a foul to stop the game and allow Simmons to return to the locker room.
Before Saturday, Simmons had been averaging 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists this season in a team-high 36.3 minutes per game. The two-time All-Star has an NBA-best 115 steals.
Simmons had entered the All-Star break strong, with a 26-point triple-double in the Sixers’ Feb. 11 win over the Clippers.
He’d posted 20.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game in the final 18 contests before the All-Star Game, shooting 68.9 percent from the foul line during that stretch. When Joel Embiid was out with a torn ligament in his left ring finger, Simmons had carried the Sixers to a 6-3 record.
With 25 regular-season games remaining, the Sixers are 35-22 and fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. They have a 26-2 home record, best in the NBA, and a 9-20 away mark that’s the worst of any team currently in a playoff position. The team’s remaining schedule is the easiest in the league.
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