Prior to the NBA going on hiatus, one of the biggest questions in the league was whether the Philadelphia 76ers would have the services of All-Star point guard Ben Simmons for the playoffs.
Simmons missed nine of the Sixers last 10 games before the hiatus with a lingering nerve impingement in his lower back — playing for just five minutes in his lone appearance during that stretch — and did not have a timetable for his return. While the layoff has created a lot of questions around the league about conditioning of players once the restart happenings — among larger, more serious issues — Simmons and the Sixers stand to be among the clear beneficiaries of the time off.
According to Brett Brown, who met with reporters on Wednesday, Simmons is “good to go” for the restart and is near 100 percent health, which is a tremendous difference from March when he was at times vomiting from the pain in his back.
Brett Brown on Ben Simmons: "He's good to go. He's put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to say that…What I'm told is effectively 100% health." #sixers
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) July 1, 2020
The on-court impact of a healthy Simmons is huge for the Sixers, but beyond that it’s just good to know that he’s no longer dealing with severe back pain, as anyone who has dealt with back injuries can attest to it being a miserable experience. With Simmons back in the fold, Philly figures to play heavily into the race for the Eastern Conference crown, and will be a dangerous team to face in the postseason. Brown also offered an update on the Sixers testing thus far for COVID-19, noting they expect a full traveling party with the exception of Zhaire Smith, who suffered a knee injury.