Ben Simmons “Close or Ready” to Play if NBA Resumes Says 76ers GM

Ben Simmons with 76ers in 2018. Photo by Martin Cole/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

Philadelphia 76ers will be at full strength if and when the 2019/20 NBA season resumes. According to 76ers’ general manager Elton Brand, their All-Star point guard Ben Simmons is getting “close or ready” to return to action after dealing with a back injury.

Simmons played his last game in February, before being sidelined due to nerve issues in his lower back. Initially, he was ruled out indefinitely, with 76ers fearing that he might be forced out to sit out the rest of the season. But the season suspension due to coronavirus pandemic might allow the 23-year-old to help out Philly in the playoffs.

“We’ve took our time, we’ve been methodical and thoughtful about his recovery and rehab, just to make sure, because we weren’t in a rush,” Brand told the media on Tuesday when asked about Simmons’ return. “It’s hard to speculate. He’s been working hard, and I know he’d be close or ready.”

Despite Philly’s struggles this season, Ben Simmons was in the middle of another productive season in which he earned his second consecutive All-Star appearance. In 54 games he played in 2019/20, Simmons averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.2 assists while leading the league in steals with 2.1 steals per game.

76ers should also have their All-Star center Joel Embiid ready in case the NBA resumes its season. Embiid dealt with hand and shoulder issues before, but is now fully recovered.

“He’s asking about when his trainer can come in,” said Brand about Embiid. “I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s going to be ready and ramped up.”

Philadelphia 76ers are currently sixth in the East, being 14.0 games behind the first seeded Milwaukee Bucks.