The Philadelphia 76ers didn't intend on having Ben Simmons around at all for the 2021 NBA preseason. Back in August, when Doc Rivers, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, and Josh Harris visited the 25-year-old star in hopes of changing his mind about his trade request, Simmons made it clear to the Sixers officials that he no longer wanted to be a member of the team.
Therefore, Simmons was officially viewed as a potential holdout candidate when offseason activities fired up once again. Media day came and went, with Simmons being the overwhelming topic of conversation despite not being around. Then when training camp began the next day, the three-time All-Star was officially holding out as he didn't attend camp.
Several training camp practices and three preseason games later, Simmons still has yet to reunite with his teammates in Philadelphia. Soon enough, that will change. On Monday, as the Sixers prepared for their third outing of the preseason against the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons appeared outside of the Wells Fargo Center, ready to undergo a COVID-19 test.
Then on Tuesday, he participated in several meetings with Rivers, Morey, and Brand throughout the course of the day and took a physical. By Wednesday, Doc Rivers revealed Simmons had a private workout at night, and there was a possibility he could re-join the 76ers out in Detroit as they take on the Pistons for their final game of the preseason.
"We're not ruling that out at all," Rivers said. "Whether we play him or not, that's gonna depend on what we see this week. You know, he's coming from behind because he hasn't been in camp, obviously. Having said that, do you rush him and put him on the floor? That's another subject. That'll go from our eyes. What we see this week is how we'll determine everything moving forward."
Rivers didn't go into detail regarding Simmons' private workout on Wednesday night following Thursday's practice session. While he wouldn't rule out Simmons playing against the Pistons on Friday night, there wasn't a ton of optimism coming from the head coach. And when the first injury report was released on Thursday night, Simmons' name appeared once again.
Before the previous three games, Simmons was ruled out early as he wasn't with the team. This time around, he's not a guarantee to sit out, but the 76ers listed him as doubtful. The reason behind his unlikeness of playing is due to reconditioning for return to competition. As Simmons hasn't participated in any team-wide scrimmages or games until this point, the veteran point guard has some work to do in terms of getting back into game shape before he takes the court. Perhaps, he'll be ready before the 76ers take on the New Orleans Pelicans for their season opener.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.