Ben Simmons returned to practice Sunday, and on Monday reporters were live in Camden, New Jersey, to document the near-unthinkable sight of the 25-year-old All-Star participating in drills with his Sixers teammates.
Just two days before the 2021-22 NBA regular season kicks off and months after more than one formal trade request from Simmons, weeks after a cross-country holdout, and a lifetime since that fateful decision in Game 7... Simmons is once again practicing at the team facility.
Here's what the surreal scene looked like on Monday afternoon, featuring videos from the practice facility:
Very weird to see him milling about among his teammates, though he pretty clearly seems uncomfortable. Look how detached he is in that final video, the one with the team huddle.
It's all just so strange.
As Doc Rivers has said, it seems the Sixers are bringing Simmons along slowly.
"Conditioning, I would say just watching him, I thought he was in decent shape," Rivers said Sunday. "Still not obviously game shape. … Right now, I’m just trying to get him back comfortable and integrated."
The Sixers kick off the regular season Wednesday night in New Orleans against the Pelicans. It's still unclear if Simmons will play.