Ben Simmons isn’t going to play for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. The team officially shut him down last month, citing continued complications as the 2016 NBA draft’s No. 1 overall pick rehabilitates and recovers following surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot.
“The scan indicated there’s not full healing in the bone,” Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo said on Feb. 24.
Shortly thereafter, in announcing that enter Joel Embiid had also been shut down for the remainder of the season, the 76ers revealed that Simmons had received an injection of bone marrow into his injured right foot “to stimulate bone growth and accelerate healing.”
One month later, the team hasn’t made any follow-up announcements about how the former LSU standout and point forward of the future has responded to that injection and subsequent treatment. But before the 76ers’ Sunday meeting with the Indiana Pacers, Simmons — who has been traveling with the team over the past few weeks — offered a bit of visual evidence to suggest that his foot is feeling at least a little bit better, thank you very much:
— Nick M Broadcast (@SportsDirectTV) March 26, 2017
If the sight of Simmons going through his legs and off the backboard for a self alley-oop throwdown, one month after being shelved for the remainder of what would have been his rookie season, instantly reminded you of Embiid rising up to go through his legs for a right-handed tomahawk in pregame warmups after having missed the entirety of his rookie season with a stress fracture in his right foot …
We'll just leave this here. https://t.co/92yenceeWO
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 6, 2015
… well, you’re either a Sixers fan or somebody who has paid way more attention to sports blogs over the past several years than is reasonable or healthy. (Thanks for that, by the way.)
Simmons’ aerial artistry came several days after 76ers head coach Brett Brown told a Philadelphia radio station that he was encouraged about the Aussie’s recovery efforts and optimistic about the chances he’ll be ready to go for Opening Night 2017, according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com:
“He’s doing great,” Brown said Friday morning on 97.5 The Fanatic. “We’re in the middle of another long road trip, we’ve got six left on the road. Five at home. [Ben]’s been with us on the whole trip. He’s resumed a sort of, normal training schedule.
“There still is no timeline on it. But, to have the ability to have him with me and with us … You treat him like he’s in the game and on the team. it’s just that ongoing growth that rookies need. Even though he didn’t touch the court this year, we were able to expedite some of those things that get him ready for his first NBA season next year.”
We’ll have to wait until the Sixers’ 2017-18 training camp to find out how far Simmons has come in that “ongoing growth” process. For now, knowing that he’s progressed to the point where he can throw down a very sweet dunk in pregame warmups without further pulverizing any of the bones in his feet will have to suffice.
Hat-tip to Jake Pavorsky at Liberty Ballers.
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