On the Beat: More Encouraging News on Simmons Comes In
PHILADELPHIA, PA - While the 76ers were conducting practice Monday in Camden, New Jersey, Ben Simmons was in New York City, getting the latest check-up on the right foot he fractured in September.
The results of the scan, which Bryan Colangelo told Comcast SportsNet over the weekend he hopes will be the last one Simmons undergoes, were clean. All signs indicated the number one pick from this past year’s draft will be able to proceed with his comprehensive rehab regimen as planned, and move closer to towards returning.
“I’m just really really happy with the path and plan that we have in place for him to-date,” Brown said Tuesday, about 90 minutes before the Sixers and Los Angeles Clippers tipped off at The Center. “His path, I think, is meticulous, from what he does with the physiotherapist, to what he does with our shooting coach, to what he does in a classroom type atmosphere with video.”
There are also the one-on-one tutoring sessions that Simmons gets on a regular basis. In these settings, Brown brings the forward / point guard prospect into his office at the Sixers’ training complex, and quizzes him on various subjects.
“You got the ball, what do you see? What reads would you make?” are the types of questions Browns peppers Simmons with when they meet.
Since Simmons injured his foot on the final day of training camp back on September 30th, the Sixers have mostly applied to his recovery the three-pronged approach Brown referenced earlier. The primary points of emphasis have revolved around wellness / strength and conditioning, education, and form shooting.
The turn of the calendar from 2016 to 2017, however, has brought with it more progress. The first weekend in January, Simmons accompanied the Sixers on the road to Boston and Brooklyn. The following week, he began joining his teammates during some 5-on-0 practice drills. The momentum has been building, steadily.
Sunday, after attending his son’s under-12 youth game about an hour outside Philadelphia, Brown went back back over to Camden, where he found Simmons at work in the gym, going “lightly” against Delaware 87er swingman James Webb III in a game of one-on-one.
“It’s all just nice and slow, it’s not dramatic, it’s not anything people should read into,” said Brown. “It’s just slowly building him up, very cautiously to a point where we can welcome him back, legitimately, to the team.”
The head coach estimated Simmons was going at about 80 percent speed. That wasn’t the point.
“If you said it’s 20 percent, 10 percent, I’d get thrilled,” said Brown with a chuckle.
As for the timetable remaining until Simmons is competing at 100 percent, full strength, that date remains unspecified.
“We’ll walk it down, but it’s not like we’re going to be cramming a week before whenever they tell us he’s ready, that we’re just going to shove stuff in. That’s not the case,” Brown said.
“I can’t wait to coach him, I really can’t wait to coach him.”