76ers: Brett Brown Praises Ben Simmons' 'Outstanding' Effort During Recovery
The Philadelphia 76ers haven't had the opportunity to play basketball in a little over two months. For their All-Star point guard Ben Simmons, it's been a little bit longer. February 22nd was the last time the Sixers' point guard has stepped foot on the court. Unfortunately, his time on the floor lasted under five minutes.
It was no secret that Simmons was dealing with some slight back pain after straining it in practice a few days prior to the Sixers' matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. But it didn't seem like there were longer-term implications due to his injury. Therefore, Simmons pushed through the pain and competed against Milwaukee.
However, it wouldn't take long before Simmons, and the Sixers realized they made a significant mistake. Just a few minutes into the game, Simmons called for trainers to follow him back to the locker room to get X-Rays on his back. Everything going down behind the scenes was initially described as 'emotional,' according to an earlier report from ESPN's NBA Insider, Adrian Wojnarowski.
As it turned out, Simmons was dealing with much more than a back strain. The third-year guard was diagnosed with a lower-back impingement just days later. And recently, Sixers' head coach Brett Brown recalled the scene after Simmons went down against Milwaukee, and revealed just how much pain Simmons was in after the game.
"For those of you who remember in Milwaukee, for me, that was as disturbing a memory as it relates to a player that I can think of," Brown mentioned on a Zoom call with the media on Friday. "He was lying on his back; he's vomiting primarily because of the pain."
While the Sixers wouldn't reveal a timeline of Simmons' recovery at the time, it was assumed the All-Star was likely going to miss the rest of the regular season and potentially some playoff games. As we know now, that won't be the case since the COVID-19 pandemic struck and put the NBA's current season on hold.
If and when the season comes back, there's a good chance Simmons is back with the Sixers, which Brown believes is a "silver lining" of the pandemic. "The effort he has put in under the restrictions that are all on top of us, he is to be praised and applauded in a significant way," Brown stated. "The professionalism and discipline that he has shown, he's teed off on that -- he's been outstanding."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_