Ben Simmons addressed the media Wednesday for the first time since being diagnosed with nerve impingement in his lower back.
It was an interesting session ahead of the Sixers’ matchup with the Pistons where Simmons pinpointed the moment the injury actually occurred and what he’s been doing in the weeks since to rehab.
The first thing that’s notable is the timeline. Simmons missed the first game after the All-Star break against the Nets on Feb. 20 with lower back soreness. While Simmons did fall awkwardly on a put-back dunk during the All-Star Game, Brett Brown said pregame that the injury happened as Simmons was going up for a rebound at the first practice after the team returned from the break.
According to Simmons, the nerve impingement didn’t actually occur until he was forced to leave the Bucks game on Feb. 22 after being fouled by Brook Lopez in the first quarter. At the time, the team said Simmons had “irritated” his previous injury. Simmons on Wednesday said it was two separate injuries.
“I felt a pinch in my back during the [Milwaukee] game,” Simmons said. “Tried to continue through it for a little bit and obviously knew it was something that was bothering me too much and went back to the locker room. But since then I’ve been feeling great. Just rehabbing.”
When it was revealed that Simmons was diagnosed with nerve impingement in his lower back, the team said he’d be re-evaluated in two weeks. We hit that mark on Tuesday and on Wednesday, the team released a statement that said Simmons would be re-evaluated in three weeks.
On the surface, that news may not have seemed positive, but Simmons is encouraged by his progress and is feeling good.
I have no pain,” Simmons said. “I feel very strong. Everything going on right now, I feel very confident.
Is he feeling more optimistic about things than when the injury first happened?
“Oh, definitely,” Simmons said. “Obviously because I’ve never been in a situation like this or had that feeling — nerve impingement. So to know where I am compared to two weeks ago, I feel much, much better. I am very confident.”
The big question of course is whether Simmons will be ready for the playoffs. The three-week timeline would land on April 1. If Simmons is cleared to play by that date — a big if — that would give him seven regular season games to ready himself for the postseason.
Simmons didn’t want to give any timetables or comment on whether or not he’d be out for the season.
“It’s just something I’m rehabbing now,” Simmons said. “There’s no timeline on it so whenever I’m back, I’m back. Whenever I’m 100 percent, I’m coming back. I’m not here to sit here and just wait. But when I’m healthy, I’ll be playing.”
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