There have been rumors that Ben Simmons may sit the entire season while recovering from a foot injury. That would be a huge mistake.
On Tuesday night the future of the Philadelphia 76ers finally began to take shape after what seems like forever. Center Joel Embiid and power forward Dario Saric both played in their first preseason game, a 92-89 victory over the Boston Celtics. Embiid finished with six points, four rebounds and two blocks on the night while Saric has 10 points, six rebounds and two assists.
All in all it was a very exciting time to be a Sixers fan, even though it was very apparent that this roster still has an awful lot to still work on.
But all that joy was still tinged with a bit of frustration. Because as the Sixers took the floor Ben Simmons, the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, was recovering from surgery earlier that day to repair an acute Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot.
The injury occurred on Friday as the Sixers were finishing up training camp. Simmons rolled his ankle after landing on the foot of Shawn Long during a scrimmage.
So once again, the Sixers have a first-round pick who is injured and won’t be able to start the season.
However, just how long Simmons will be out has been up for some debate.
While the Sixers have not set any timetable for Simmons’ return, it is expected he will miss three months at the very least and could possibly be sidelined until the All-Star Game in February. Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo indicated the team will take a cautious approach to Simmons’ return, just as they have in the past.
“In no way, shape or form are we going to rush him back. This is a process that we will go through the same way we’ve handled other injury situations in the past. … We’re going to let the medical professionals dictate the course of action in terms of both rehabilitation, recovery and return to action.”
But there is no way that Simmons should miss the entirety of the 2016-17 season, as has been suggested by Keith Pompey of Philly.com.
According to Pompey’s thinking, since the Sixers still aren’t going to be very good anyway, there is no point in rushing Simmons back on the hardwood. It is better to let him ride the bench all season then to take a chance of him re-injuring the foot while playing this year.
That, my friends, is Sam Hinkie thinking.
The days of the Sixers tanking are at long last over. This team needs to start to make the transition from a franchise that is rebuilding and is okay with losing to a team that is hungry for wins and possibly a spot in the NBA Playoffs, no matter how slim it may be.
In addition, in order Brett Brown to try to figure out who the Sixers should keep and who they should send packing, he really needs to see what he is working with. How can he say for all certainty that keeping Jahlil Okafor over Nerlens Noel is the right thing to do until he sees how they both matchup with Simmons? Or how it will play out when both he and Saric are on the court at the same time?
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The days when the Sixers can let a player like Simmons just sit on the bench while they take a “cautious” approach are long over. Yes, let him take his time and come back when he is ready. It’s not like the Sixers are going to the NBA Finals this season.
But there is also absolutely no reason that if Simmons can play, that he shouldn’t.
Teams with a losing culture do that. As of Tuesday, the Sixers are not one of those teams anymore.