Ben Simmons made his practice debut for the 2021-2022 season on Sunday afternoon. Despite all of the drama his absence created over the past few weeks, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers mentioned that it was business as usual in Camden.
"He was just one of the players," said Rivers in regards to Simmons. "It was good overall. He was in and out. You know, it was not a great practice -- not because of him -- more because you take a day off, three games before the first game and guys, unfortunately, know math, but overall it was a good day."
When Monday's practice session rolled around, Simmons was present once again. When asked whether Simmons would play in the Sixers' season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday or not, Rivers made it clear that he hadn't thought too much about it at that moment.
"I don't know yet," Rivers said when asked about Simmons' status for Wednesday. "I'm gonna wait and see. You know, conditioning, I would say just watching him, I thought he was in decent shape. You know, still not obviously game shape because you can't do all of this stuff but overall, yeah."
Tuesday's practice session would've given Rivers a good indication of whether Simmons could play on Wednesday or not. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old All-Star wasn't all that interested in participating in team drills.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Rivers' attempts to get Simmons to join in on a defensive drill were unsuccessful. That led to the head coach demanding the veteran guard to leave the gym. That time around, Simmons listened.
"I just thought he was a distraction," said Doc Rivers after practice. "He didn't want to do what everybody else was doing. It was early, and it wasn't a big deal. I just told him he should leave then, and we went on with practice."
Shortly after Simmons was kicked out of practice, the Sixers decided to issue punishment to the disgruntled star. Due to conduct detrimental to the team, the 76ers chose to suspend Simmons for one game. Therefore, his status for Wednesday night is official; the star guard will miss the team's opener in New Orleans as he won't be with the team and won't be eligible to return to the court until Thursday at the earliest.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.