The injury that began for Ben Simmons as “lower back tightness” will sideline him at least another three weeks, the Philadelphia 76ers announced on Wednesday morning.
After playing in the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago in mid-February, Simmons missed the Sixers’ first game after the break with what the team called tightness. In the days since, the Sixers diagnosed the injury as “lower back nerve impingement,” something that sounds quite complicated and, based on the prognosis for Simmons’ return, is much more serious. Simmons is set to be re-evaluated in three weeks, which would be the first week of April. If he is still not ready to play, Simmons’ status for the first round of the NBA playoffs would be in jeopardy.
Sixers say Ben Simmons (nerve impingement, lower back) continues to progress in his rehabilitation and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 11, 2020
From the Sixers’ perspective, a make-or-break season gets uglier with Simmons’ status completely unclear for the playoffs. Philadelphia is 30th in defense over the past two weeks without its stars, per Cleaning the Glass. They are expected to get Joel Embiid (left shoulder sprain) and Josh Richardson (concussion) back soon, and head coach Brett Brown said this week he expects Embiid and Al Horford to start together again when Embiid returns. But without home court advantage or their full armada of talent, Philadelphia may have a difficult time making the sort of run they expected after taking the eventual champion Toronto Raptors to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year.