NBA Injuries

Ben Simmons Close to Returning?

Photographer: David Blair/Icon Sportswire
Number one pick Ben Simmons could return post All-Star break.

In last season’s draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected power forward Ben Simmons with the number one pick out of LSU. On September 30th, he fractured his fifth metatarsal in his right foot during practice. The injury would later be known as a Jones fracture. Since he had surgery, he has been shelved with a timetable of three months or more months.

The surgery was by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York. O’Malley performed surgeries to repair similar foot injuries for Kevin Durant, Brook Lopez, and other NBA stars. He was also the surgeon who performed the bone graft operation on Joel Embiid’s navicular bone last summer.

On October fifth, Dr. Daniel Cuttica, of the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center stated about Simmons injury.

“The fifth metatarsal stress fractures tend to be a little bit more difficult to heal, and can actually tend to recur as well,” Dr. Cuttica said. “Certainly the [acute] fracture is going to be a little bit more predictable in terms of treatment [when corrected through surgery].”

Dr. Cuttica also said: “Most of them (Jones fractures) do tend to heal predictably if they’re fixed surgically,” Dr. Cuttica said. “Your return to play at something that’s as high intensity as basketball tends to be on average 10 to 12 weeks.”

This puts us in early January, but obviously, Simmons is going to need more time. When he does return you may see a position switch. The 6’10” and 240-pounder could play point guard. Head coach Brett Brown said in December that he gave Simmons a formal positional exam once the walking boot was off.

Only pen and paper were required and the test consisted of answering statements: “Here, you got the ball, you’re the point guard,” said Brown. “What do you see and what do you do? What do I call this? Where are the reads? What can he do?”

When January rolled around, Simmons was doing better, but still had no timetable for his return. Brown did state that he will be doing more in drills in the upcoming weeks, but for the time being, will participate in a three-part system. That includes weight lifting, form shooting, and classroom work. Simmons was dribbling and shooting at practice.

A week later, Simmons were on 5-0 drills and playing the point guard position. This is a small but significant step forward his progression, but he was not taking on any contact. On the 18th of January, coach Brown would comment that Simmons would not be available on the 27th of January.

Now Chris Haynes of ESPN.com is saying that Ben Simmons could “could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break.” He went through 5-on-5 for the first time last week and continues to do some work pre-game, including on the road. The report also stated: “Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility that Simmons sits the entire season.”

It appears now the next step for Simmons to return is another, but hopefully a final exam. If Simmons does pass that he should return soon.

Feel free to stash Simmons. Even though once he is healthy, the 76ers will limit his minutes, as they did with Joel Embiid. However, he could do you well once he is on starting minutes. A good fit would be for a fantasy team that has an open I.R. spot or your team is in a large lead.

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