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The Philadelphia 76ers were surprised to see Ben Simmons back in town earlier this week. As they tipped off their third preseason matchup of the year against the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons showed up to the Wells Fargo Center, prepared to take the proper steps to re-joining the team.

On Tuesday, Simmons was present at the Sixers' practice facility during the team's off-day. According to Doc Rivers, Simmons met with key members of the organization such as Elton Brand, Daryl Morey, and Rivers himself several times throughout the day.

Then on Wednesday, when the Sixers returned to the court, Simmons was ineligible to practice with the team. However, he did have a private workout on Wednesday evening. And when Thursday rolled around, it was the final day he wasn't eligible to join his teammates at practice.

As the 76ers traveled to Detroit following Thursday's practice, Simmons was among those who didn't make the trip. Despite not being on the initial flight, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers wouldn't rule the three-time All-Star out from Friday's preseason finale against the Detroit Pistons.

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Although Rivers and the Sixers kept the door open for Simmons' possible return on Friday, they could no longer hide the inevitable. Hours before tip-off, Simmons was ruled out for reconditioning purposes, and it was revealed he wasn't with the team.

Following Philly's preseason loss to the Pistons, the Sixers returned home and got the day off on Saturday. Now, they are set to take the practice court on Sunday. Will Simmons be present? Nobody knows for sure, but Rivers mentioned on Friday that he expects to be in the mix on Sunday, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Simmons hasn't spoken publicly since the Sixers dropped Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks last season. Although the three-time All-Star hasn't said a word for himself in a while, plenty of reports continue to reiterate that the young guard believes his time in Philly has run its course and he would like a fresh start.

As the Sixers have yet to find a trade worth making, they would like the young All-Star to return to the court donning a Sixers uniform. And Simmons' Sixers teammates feel the same way. Sunday could be the first step to the All-Star truly re-joining the team, but it's not confirmed whether he will do that or not just yet.

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