Blogtable: Should Ben Simmons sit out the entire season?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons underwent surgery Tuesday to repair an acute Jones fracture in his right foot, and some are suggesting he sit out the entire season. What say you?
Steve Aschburner: Every injury is different, as is every patient. But we have a recent precedent for Jones fractures in the NBA: Kevin Durant’s painful 2014-15 season. The then-OKC star required three surgeries in six months on his version of this foot malady, and his attempts to return swiftly and play that season got him into just 27 games before he was shut down for good in February. So unless Simmons is a lightning-quick healer, Philadelphia – which isn’t playing urgently for the sort of stakes the Thunder was – should be vigilant in his rehab, keep him close to learn and bond with the team, but hit a reset button that has him eligible for Rookie of the Year in 2017-18.
Fran Blinebury: I try not to play a doctor on the Internet. If the Sixers’ medical staff determines that Simmons is completely healthy and does not risk re-injury by returning at some point in the season, then I’d say let him play. Otherwise, what’s the point of medical school?
Scott Howard-Cooper: I say I am more than happy to speculate about a Draft pick, whether a coaching hire will work out or which side will benefit most from a trade, but anyone who looks into the future of a fractured foot and surgery better have “MD” after their name. (That won’t happen, of course. People will continue to guess without seeing so much as an X-ray or chart.) The obvious plan would be to take the cautious approach and worry about the next 10 seasons, not this one. But if the doctors actually involved in the case say Simmons could go in February or March, then he goes. If they say the risk of a setback is too great, he doesn’t go.
Shaun Powell: I didn’t perform the surgery nor will have any role in the rehab, so I say do what the doctors tell you. I find it funny when folks start putting on their medical scrubs and play doctor. If the real doctors are telling him three months, five months, 12 months, whatever, that’s what he should do. Although, in any situation, better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. The kid’s 20. He got time.
John Schuhmann: The Sixers should definitely err on the side of caution. Joel Embiid admitted on media day that he did too much too early after his first foot surgery and ultimately needed a second one. Even now, his playing time and game status will be determined by the Sixers’ doctors more than Brett Brown. And for Simmons, it’s all about what the doctors say, with the additional acknowledgement that there’s no urgency in regard to contending for a playoff spot with this team.
Sekou Smith: Listen to your doctors young fella. As much as it probably stings to have your dream delayed for a few months or maybe even an entire season (it didn’t hurt Blake Griffin), it’s better to err on the side of caution than to rush the process in any way. I trust that the Sixers will make the best recommendation for both the franchise and Simmons. And I guarantee you that the folks representing Simmons have every possible contingency covered. You don’t rush greatness, and if Simmons is indeed destined for such a thing, you take all the time needed.
Ian Thomsen: When did sitting out the season become a thing? The 76ers could shelve him if they decide in the New Year if they want to tank for another high Draft pick, but right now they appear to be more interested in trying to show improvement. My advice is for him to approach his rehab with a sense of urgency: Try to get him back on his feet as fast as possible, and then make a prudent, cautious decision. But don’t shut him down preemptively.
Lang Whitaker: Here’s an idea: Let’s wait and see what, you know, the doctors say. Clearly the Sixers have shown they have patience when it comes to rehabilitating injuries and allowing players to get fully healthy, as we’ve seen them do with Joel Embiid. With that track record in mind, I’d be willing to trust the process in Philly. Let’s let Simmons recover from his surgery, go through rehab, get evaluated, and then see what’s best for Simmons. After all, what’s best for Simmons is best for the Sixers, long-term.
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