Philadelphia's Ben Simmons is seeking treatment options on his injured left knee, and the 76ers are unsure the extent of the issue or how many games the All-Star could miss.
Simmons left Philadelphia's game against Washington on Wednesday midway through the third quarter because of injury, officially diagnosed as a suffered a subluxation of the left patella. A subluxation is a partial and temporary dislocation; the patella is the kneecap.
It’s not uncommon for such injuries to require a recovery time of several weeks, though the 76ers have yet to announce a timeline.
“Stuff is still being evaluated,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. Simmons won’t play Friday against Orlando, but Brown said he’s still waiting to learn more. Later, Brown said he was hopeful of knowing more sometime Friday.
Losing Simmons would be the latest big blow for a franchise that has endured many of them in recent years on the injury front. The 76ers went 47-199 in Brown’s first three seasons — the start of the infamous “Trust The Process” era — then improved to 28-54 in 2016-17 and have become one of the Eastern Conference’s top clubs in the three seasons since.
But if Simmons is gone for an extended period, Philadelphia’s playoff hopes take an obvious hit.
“It’s the life that we have lived since I have been in Philadelphia,” Brown said. “This one stings for sure. We all felt like, with the pandemic and are we going to play again, it obviously bought time for Ben. ... In relation to sort of being incredibly down about it, I’m not. I feel numb to it.”
The 76ers, who have five games remaining in the Disney bubble in an eight-day span starting Friday, have already clinched a playoff spot and cannot fall below sixth in the East standings. The playoffs begin Aug. 17.
“It’s tough for us,” said 76ers guard Shake Milton, who has moved to the point in the bubble while Simmons has shifted primarily to the power forward spot. “Ben’s an incredible player and an incredible athlete. He’s like a freak, a superhuman. Hopefully he’s able to heal super-fast and get back on the court because we definitely need him.”
Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds this season, and his 35.4 minutes per game leads the 76ers. Philadelphia is 35-22 with Simmons this season and just 6-5 in games without him.
“There’s a lot of moving parts right now and really, we’re all kind of coming to grips with the news that we’ve received,” Brown said.