NEWS OF THE MORNING
Report: Simmons could miss 8 weeks | State of Clippers as season nears | Bosh backs young Heat | Cavs’ Love dismisses haters
No. 1: Report: Simmons could miss up to 8 weeks with foot injury — The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the most impressive groups of young talent in the NBA with rookies Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid joining youngsters Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. However, the Sixers got some bad news yesterday as Simmons suffered a broken foot in practice and according to The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey, could be out up to eight weeks:
76ers fans won’t get to see their beloved Ben Simmons play until Nov. 11 – that’s if they’re lucky.
The first overall pick in the draft could be sidelined for up to eight weeks after an X-ray and MRI revealed a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot.
A league source believes the point forward has a Zone 2 fracture, or what is commonly called a Jones fracture of the bone.
However, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown could not be reached to confirm the extent of the injury Friday night. The team released a statement that read in part: “Further medical evaluation and treatment options are being considered at this time and additional updates will be provided when appropriate.”
Simmons rolled his right ankle during a training-camp scrimmage on Friday at Stockton University. At first, the injury was not thought to be serious. He left the gym to get imaging tests, which then revealed the break.
The source said the team was deciding whether Simmons should undergo surgery.
Assuming it is a non-significant Jones fracture, the injury is normally treated with a walking boot, a cast, or a splint for six to eight weeks. Rehabilitation may take an additional two to three weeks, meaning Simmons’ return date could be pushed back to late November or early December, barring any setbacks.
But that’s only if the fracture heals properly. Plus, there’s no telling how long Simmons would be out under these circumstances. The overly cautious Sixers have a history of keeping players sidelined long after their targeted return date.
The other types of fractures are Zone 1 and Zone 3.
Zone 1 fractures are commonly called “chip” fractures and occur at the tip of the base of the bone. These types of fractures are typically treated without needing surgery. The healing time is around six to eight weeks. Zone 3 fractures occur along the shaft of the fifth metatarsal. A long healing process and the risk of refracture are reasons for surgery.
Simmons suffered the injury when he landed on Shawn Long’s foot. He heard something pop and his foot started swelling later on. The Sixers thought he had originally rolled his ankle. Jones fractures are often mistaken for an ankle sprain and an avulsion or Zone 1 fracture. That also takes six to eight weeks to heal.
No matter what, this is not good news for a franchise that’s coming off a 10-72 season and went 47-199 over the last three while tanking.
It’s possible Simmons could be out for an extended period, if not the season.
He becomes the Sixers’ fourth straight first-round acquisition to be sidelined with an injury in their rookie season.
Nerlens Noel, who was acquired in the 2013 draft, missed his first year because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee. The following season, the Sixers made Joel Embiid the third overall pick. He has yet to play because of surgeries each of the last two summers to repair the navicular bone in his right foot. Then Jahlil Okafor, who was drafted third in 2015, had season-ending surgery on March 22 to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The injury cost the NBA all-rookie selection the final 23 games of the season. A CAT scan on March 8 revealed the tear.
Simmons will be a huge loss for the franchise trying to go into the second phase of its rebuilding project.
Simmons had a solid training camp.
Coaches and players were all raving about his ability to get up and down the court at top speed. The Sixers were also impressed with how he was adjusting to playing off the ball. The offense ran through Simmons while he was at LSU and in high school.
As a result, he looked uncomfortable when someone else handled the ball for the Sixers during the summer leagues. So during training camp, the goal was to have him play several different positions. He lined up at point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. The Sixers even posted him up underneath the basket during late-game scenarios.
He has been able to do that better than the coaching staff anticipated. His physical presence while pushing tempo is what impressed center Joel Embiid the most. Simmons is 6-foot-10, 250 pounds and extremely fast for a man his size.
No. 2: State of Clippers as new season approaches — With Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul leading the way, the LA Clippers have become one of the strong contenders in the Western Conference over the last few seasons. For all the highlights and Lob City excitement the team has generated, though, a run to the Western Conference finals has not yet been in the cards for those Clippers’ stars. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com takes a look at the team as a new season nears and free agency looms for Griffin:
Both Griffin and Paul can become free agents next summer, meaning all sorts of personal and organizational decisions lie ahead. Do the Clippers dare risk losing one or both in free agency without getting anything in return? Or do they feel compelled to trade one, both or someone else during the season to make sure there isn’t a crater in the middle of Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion franchise next summer?
Over the years, if you spoke to people in and around the franchise and you’d get wildly different opinions on what the future would look like. Part of that was because everyone was waiting to get a read on what kind of owner Ballmer was going to be. How patient would the notoriously emotional, enthusiastic former Microsoft CEO be? How long would he defer to Rivers on basketball decisions? Thus far, he has remained at a respectful distance. His biggest intervention this summer was green-lighting indulgent contracts to keep Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford. Of course the Clippers had no choice but to pay their own free agents because the team was so far over the cap, it had no real options at replacing anyone who left. Still, can you see Sterling giving Crawford $42 million? Not a chance.
So after three years of Ballmer’s ownership, it might just be long enough to draw some conclusions. Most importantly, according to Clippers insiders, is his commitment to keeping both Griffin and Paul long term no matter what it costs.
Do both want to stay? That’s impossible to predict nine months out. But it’s hard to imagine either finding as good of a set up as they have in Los Angeles. Both have firmly planted roots in L.A., with deep ties to the business and entertainment worlds. Paul has essentially become a CEO-in-training, befriending executives he does business with and those who frequent Clippers games; Griffin is a superstar pitchman and budding comic.
As for the idea that they’d make a blockbuster trade, consider this: The only way the Clippers get a decent return is if Paul and/or Griffin agreed to waive their player option for next season, or guaranteed they’d re-sign long term in the city they were traded. There’s no compelling reason for either of them to do that after the infusion of television rights’ money spikes the salary cap up more than $100 million next summer.
Rivers has already publicly said the team isn’t trading Griffin at least a dozen times now. It’s heresy to even bring up trading Paul. Jordan has turned into the best defensive center in the game, and he’s locked up on a very reasonable contract for two more seasons.
So while this is still a pivotal season for the Clippers’ core group, it’s probably not their last stand.
Something has been missing. Something is still needed. As Pierce himself said, based on talent alone, the Clippers do have something of a “super team” with Paul, Griffin, Jordan, JJ Redick (the best 3-point shooter in the league) and Crawford (a three-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner). So why haven’t they won a title yet? And can they still do so in an NBA in which Kevin Durant just joined the 73-win Golden State Warriors?
On talent alone, L.A. is still one of the top three or four best teams in the NBA along with Golden State, Cleveland and San Antonio.
“Other teams in the past have been probably just as deep,” Crawford said. “But I’m not sure it was the right guys at the right time.
“This just feels like the perfect storm as far as guys who want to win, are competitive enough at the right time frame in their lives about what’s important.”
No. 3: Bosh backs young Heat — The relationship between the Miami Heat and All-Star big man Chris Bosh hasn’t been on the greatest of terms since team president Pat Riley announced Bosh’s career with them was “probably over.” All that aside, Bosh had thoughts on the new-look Heat as they ready for the 2016-17 season, which he posted on his web site:
It’s funny how things change. All I have right now associated with basketball are my friends and memories. And I’m so thankful for those things.
I remember just a few years ago when the Big 3 were together and we were having a ball playing the game we love with some of the most professional, talented guys the NBA has ever seen.
I remember the fans of Miami coming out to see the show every night. The love, the compassion and the energy we felt was second to none. I want to thank the city of Miami from the bottom of my heart because things may change but the good times will last forever in my memories. Thank you!
Things are different now and Miami has incredible young talent with a tremendous upside. These are not only talented ball players but great people and friends. I enjoyed playing with those guys and doing my best to mentor them by being an upstanding role model and veteran player. It’s their time to go through the ups and downs of the game with this great city.
No. 4: Love dismisses haters — Even with memories of the celebration dancing in his head and a championship ring on his finger, Kevin Love knows he’ll never be able to quiet the turbulence of the past two seasons or any of the critics that will continue to dog him in the future. But he told Dave McMenamin ofESPN.com that he has learned to live with the flak and simply enjoy his teammates:
Love says that noise still exists; he just has learned to block it out.
“They’ll never be gone,” Love said Friday when asked about the critics. “That’s just something that you live with. We have so much hype and media and the good and the bad surrounding this team and it just comes with the territory.
“So, I love this team, love the coaching staff, my teammates, the organization. I mean, I don’t think it will ever leave but frankly, I don’t really give a s—.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: LeBron James is pressuring the Cavaliers to sign J.R. Smith … The Golden State Warriors’ quest to atone for their NBA Finals flub begins tonight with a preseason date with the Toronto Raptors (7:30 ET, NBA TV) … According to a report, Donatas Motiejunas and the Houston Rockets remain far apart on a deal … So, what’s next for Kevin Garnett now that he’s retired? … Victor Oladipo is hoping to stay in Oklahoma City for a very long time … Great listen with former Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins … Boston Celtics boss Danny Ainge offers up some high praise for new big man Al Horford … Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki says he wasn’t taking a shot at the departed Chandler Parsons … A Salt Lake City-area high school was thrilled with a special surprise — taking in a Utah Jazz scrimmage …