Prior to the NBA season getting paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philadelphia 76ers found themselves in a tricky spot. Already not living up to the sky-high expectations that some had for the squad, Philly lost star guard/forward Ben Simmons to a nerve impingement in his back. As is oftentimes the case when a Sixers player gets hurt, the team said that progress was being made but did not have a strict timetable for his return.
The ongoing hiatus has apparently been helpful for Simmons’ back. According to a new piece by Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the time away from basketball has meant that Simmons has essentially recovered, and should the season restart, Philly expects him to be able to take the floor.
This is what Simmons must navigate, a cauldron of controversy — whenever play resumes. The hope of a mid-April return for the playoffs has been deferred, although 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.”
A 100 percent healthy Ben Simmons changes things for the Sixers, as he’s served as the team’s best point guard and most versatile defender. Despite their 39-26 record, which puts them in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the talking point surrounding the team all year has been that their size and physicality would make them a tough out during the postseason. We’ll see if we even get a postseason at this rate, but if that happens, at least Philly can take some solace in knowing that Simmons would be able to take the floor without any major issues.