Ben Simmons hadn’t played meaningful minutes in an NBA game since Feb. 11, a full month before the coronavirus forced a shut down of the NBA season. A nerve impingement in his lower back had him sidelined for the last eight games before the hiatus, and there were questions about whether he would return for the playoffs.
Now, if the league starts up again, Simmons is expected to be ready to go, reports Jackie McMullin in a wide-ranging story about Simmons at ESPN.
The hope of a mid-April return for the playoffs has been deferred, though sources tell ESPN that Simmons will be good to go as his lower back impingement has all but dissipated. “If the season resumes,” says a team source, “we’re expecting to have him.”
With Simmons in the lineup, the Sixers become more of a postseason threat. He is an All-Star level player who averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game last season. He’s part of a long, athletic Sixers team that matches up well against the Milwaukee Bucks, but also a team with some floor spacing issues (which Simmons is at the heart of).
Let’s hope we get to see Simmons back on the court this season. Currently, while the NBA looks at scenarios for playing games without fans in a “bubble” somewhere, it’s unclear if the league will be able to restart this season, and if so when and what form everything would take.