Sixers are Optimistic About Ben Simmons' Return vs. Raptors

Will Ben Simmons play on Sunday?
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Ever since his big 42-point night against the Utah Jazz on Monday, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons hasn't had the opportunity to follow up. Although he was on pace to play on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets, Simmons was added to the Sixers' injury report just a couple of hours before game time.

According to Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, Simmons was dealing with a case of stomach flu. The fact that his sickness was not COVID-19-related was a relief, but Simmons was still ill enough to keep him off the court against the Houston Rockets.

Fortunately, the 76ers managed to come out on top with a win over Houston. On Friday night, something similar happened once again. Leading up to the matchup against the Chicago Bulls, Simmons was expected to return.

As the fourth-year guard was listed on the injury report as probable, it seemed the Sixers might've misread his situation. Not only did Simmons not participate in the team's early morning shootaround on Friday, but he was also technically questionable for the matchup against Chicago as Doc Rivers made it seem that Simmons was more likely to miss the matchup rather than return.

And it turns out, Rivers' instincts were correct. Not even a half-hour after Rivers' pregame press conference, the 76ers ruled Simmons out of Friday night's matchup. Now that he's missed the last two games, the Sixers are hopeful their two-time All-Star guard is back in action on Sunday when they take on the Toronto Raptors.

Per the Saturday night injury report, Simmons is once again listed as probable. The fact that he traveled to the Raptors' temporary home in Tampa for the multi-game road trip is a good sign Simmons could return. However, the 76ers are likely proceeding with caution this time around as his absence on Friday was slightly sudden and shocking for many.

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