Tagged in: ben simmons

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons both ruled out Thursday due to COVID-19 contact tracing

The Philadelphia 76ers stated Tuesday that All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would both miss Thursday’s game versus the Chicago Bulls — and that Simmons will miss Friday’s game versus the Washington Wizards — due to the same contact tracing that kept both of them from participating in Sunday’s All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Presuming both continue to test negative for COVID-19 — as they have so far — Embiid will be eligible to return for Friday night’s game versus Washington, while Simmons will be able to return Sunday at home against the San Antonio Spurs.

Both players were pulled out of Sunday’s All-Star Game after having come in contact with a barber in Philadelphia who later tested positive for COVID-19.

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The NBA had strict quarantines for everyone involved with the league’s midseason showcase, however, and the two players were able to depart from Atlanta later in the day and return to Philadelphia.

They were the only two people involved with the game who had any issues with either a positive test or contact tracing over the weekend.

The Sixers ended the first half of the campaign with the best record in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. They will practice Wednesday night ahead of returning to the court in Chicago on Thursday.

Embiid is in the midst of the best season of his career, averaging more than 30 points and 11 rebounds per match, and as a result is a leading contender for the NBA’s MVP award.

Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game, and has coupled his always impressive defensive abilities with a recent burst of aggression offensively — including scoring a career-high 42 points in Utah last month in a game Embiid sat out due to injury.

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Ben Simmons likely out for season

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is likely to miss the rest of the campaign, sources tell ESPN.

Simmons will have a loose body removed from his left knee in the coming days, the team informed Saturday.

Only a deep Sixers playoff run could keep a fleeting hope of his return alive this season, sources said. Even then, his return from the procedure — expected to take place outside of the Disney campus in the coming days — is largely expected to come next season.

The Sixers are preparing now for a postseason run that will come without Simmons, one of the league’s most talented and versatile weapons.

The loose body was a result of a left patella subluxation suffered in Wednesday’s triumph over the Washington Wizards. A subluxation of the patella means that the kneecap popped out of place but returned on its own. The Sixers had moved Simmons to the power forward spot, and now the team’s offensive focus turns fully to All-Star center Joel Embiid.

The Sixers will suffer considerably on the defensive end without Simmons, and offensively they’ll count on a lineup of shooting surrounding Embiid that could give him more room to operate around the basket.

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The injury also means the return of Al Horford in Philadelphia’s starting lineup.

Horford had been replaced in the starting five by guard Shake Milton when Simmons was shifted to power forward after the Sixers arrived in Orlando, but now is back starting next to Embiid.

The Sixers have struggled to maximize the talents of both big men when they have shared the court together since signing Horford as a free agent last summer. That has led Brown to try to limit the amount of time they were going to play together moving forward. Now he has little choice but to try to make it work.

Horford started next to Embiid and played quite well in Philadelphia’s 108-101 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes. “We need [Horford] more than we’ve ever needed him,” Brown said afterward.

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76ers Ben Simmons ‘effective 100%’ for restart of season

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said Ben Simmons’ back is “effectively 100 percent” as they prepare to head to Florida for the NBA restart at Disney World.

“He’s good to go. He’s put in a tremendous volume of work for me to be able to confidently say that,” Brown said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“As you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaped up, it would be hard-pressed for me to find something more obvious than this: It’s enabled Ben to reclaim his health. He’s good to go, and we look forward to watching him with what I’m told is effectively 100 percent health.”

Simmons hasn’t played in an NBA match since Feb. 22, when he suffered a back injury early in the first quarter versus the Milwaukee Bucks. However, after months of speculation, it appears the Sixers can expect to have Simmons available when they resume their season on Aug. 1 versus the Indiana Pacers.

In addition to the positive report about Simmons’ health, Brown said none of the Sixers have tested positive for the coronavirus and none have opted out of going with the team to Orlando for the restart.

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He said he’s also very pleased with the shape that Joel Embiid is in.

“Let’s start with the respect and applause I give him for putting in time. There is nobody on our team that has put in more time than Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “Forget what he has actually done in the gym for a minute, just go to the man hours and consecutive days and the amount of days he has put in over the past few months. I’m proud of him, I respect him. He needed to do it. We understand the impact he can have on our team.”

After he unintentionally collided with Markelle Fultz and suffered a facial fracture two years ago and then dealt with illness and flu-like symptoms throughout a second-round loss to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors last year, the Sixers are hoping Embiid will be fully healthy and ready to go for the playoffs.

Brown said the team has a plan in place to ramp up Embiid’s activity. “We’ve got a three-week runway to deliver him to the regular season,” Brown said. “I’m looking for Joel to come in in as good of shape as he’s been in since I have coached him. I think the three weeks we have together is an inverted sort of luxury we haven’t had. I’m excited for Jo to get back into this and show what he has been doing the last few months.”

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