76ers' Brett Brown Says Ben Simmons is '100-Percent' Before NBA Restart

Justin Grasso

Back in February, Philadelphia 76ers All-Star point guard Ben Simmons went down with a back injury during the first few minutes of a Saturday night primetime matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Simmons would eventually be diagnosed with a lower-back impingement, keeping him out for more than a month.

Many expected Simmons to miss the remainder of the regular season potentially, but then NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suddenly suspended the 2019-2020 season due to a coronavirus outbreak in the league. 

At that point, the chances of Simmons being able to be involved in concluding the rest of the regular season with his team became a possibility. And now it's known that Simmons will be healthy for the August 1st return to the court this summer. 

A couple of weeks ago, many were excited to hear that Simmons will be back. However, there was some notable disappointment as Sixers head coach Brett Brown indicated Simmons could be limited when the NBA returns. "My opinion, and this is not confirmed yet, is that we are going to be able to inch him back into this," Brown told Sports Illustrated's own, Chris Mannix, a few weeks ago. "Is he going to be 100-percent, I don't expect that. But I think he is going to be available."

As a few videos of Simmons' recent Los Angeles-based workouts surfaced the internet, many questioned Brown's theory about Simmons not being "100-percent." And while he didn't want to backpedal from his initial statement, the Sixers head coach did tweak his words during a recent Zoom call with the local media.

"The fact is he's doing way better than that phrase would indicate," Brown said on Wednesday. "You're going to treat Ben [Simmons] like you're going to treat Shake [Milton], or Matisse [Thybulle] -- [Ben Simmons] is good to go. 

"He's put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to confidently say that," Brown continued. "When you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaken up, it would be hard-pressed for me to find something more obvious than this as it has enabled Ben to reclaim his health. Inching along from a month ago -- that is not true. He's good to go, and we look forward to watching him with what I'm told is effectively 100-percent."

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_