Before Monday night, Ben Simmons hadn't seen the basketball court in over a week. Two Fridays ago, he was healthy while playing the Los Angeles Clippers at home on ESPN. After getting two days off, the Philadelphia 76ers standout came down with a non-COVID illness.
"It was diagnosed as a viral thing," Simmons said in regards to his flu-like illness. "It's gonna take a few days to get over." While Simmons was a 50/50 shot at playing against the Golden State Warriors last Monday, he was ruled out shortly before the game started.
Surprisingly, Simmons went on to miss the next few games. As Philly hosted the Phoenix Suns before taking a trip to Milwaukee for a two-game stint, Simmons remained at home resting up.
Finally, the three-time All-Star returned to the Sixers' lineup on Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although Simmons was initially ruled out on Sunday night, the Sixers upgraded the guard on Monday, allowing him to make his return.
"I'm glad to be back, honestly," Simmons mentioned after the game. "You know, I miss being with the fellas. Especially being able to come in here and get the win tonight was huge. I think the energy was great tonight. Everyone played their role. Everyone was doing their thing all night long."
Considering the Sixers dominated the shorthanded Thunder with ease, Simmons didn't have to check-in for more than 23 minutes on Monday. Despite having a shorter shift than usual, Simmons still made an impact as he shot 6-for-8 from the field, accounting for 12 points on offense.
On defense, Simmons grabbed three rebounds, three steals and blocked two shots. Overall, his performance was impressive, and the veteran guard didn't look like he missed a step after spending the last week resting with an illness. Now, he looks forward to building on Monday's progress and attempting to climb back into first place within the Eastern Conference so the Sixers can take the No. 1 seed before playoffs.