Report: Ben Simmons Debut Could Still Be A Month Away
According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, 76ers rookie Ben Simmons could make his NBA debut after the All-Star break.
The 76ers will have off from February 16th through February 23rd for the league’s All-Star break, returning to play on Friday, February 24th against the Washington Wizards.
According to Haynes, Simmons’ debut could come some time “shortly after the All-Star break” and “near March”, although no specifics were provided outside of that.
While Haynes said Simmons missing the entire season because of his injury was still a possibility, he did also report that the foot had completely healed.
Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during the last scrimmage of training camp and has yet to make his NBA debut.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown at one point mentioned January as a possible return for the #1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, but quickly walked back on those comments. The team has been hesitant to give a timeline since.
The NBA announced yesterday that next Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets had been flexed, moved to an 8 p.m. start time and to be aired on ESPN. That, along with an ambiguous instagram post from Simmons, caused much speculation in the Philadelphia area over whether the Sixers could be targeting that January 27th game against Houston as a debut for Simmons.
Brown was quick to shoot down any such rumors earlier today.
“There is no chance,” Brown said when asked whether Simmons could play on January 27th. “I’m a social media hermit, so I have no idea what you’re talking about. But I do know that there is no chance that he will play then.”
Haynes did say in the report that Simmons participated in 5-on-5 drills for the first time last week.
Simmons, a native of Australia, averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals per game for LSU last season.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.