When the Philadelphia 76ers traveled to New York City on Tuesday to face the New York Knicks, Sixers point guard Ben Simmons wasn't with the team. His absence on Philly's bench at Madison Square Garden didn't come as a surprise, considering he was ruled out as early as Monday night due to personal reasons.
Plus, Simmons has yet to show face on the Sixers bench since Philadelphia tipped off their preseason weeks ago. Perhaps, Simmons is trending in the right direction towards an eventual return, though.
According to TNT's Allie LaForce, Simmons participated in a team-wide workout with the Sixers on Tuesday morning before they hit the road to head to MSG to face the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
"I was told that he has worked out at the facility in Camden with the team as recently as this morning. Members of the front office as well as the organization confirmed with me he’s receiving professional help for his mental health through the Players Union. He’s also going through regular treatment on his back which he expressed concern about last week. The front office told me that they will continue to pay him as long as he is working on mentally and physically getting better and they said ‘It’s not about the money for us. It’s about winning a title. We want to win and he’s a really good player.’ The only way they’ll deal him is if the team gets better and there just are not a lot of scenarios where that makes sense right now."
There's been a lot of development in the Ben Simmons saga since the three-time All-Star made his return a couple of weeks ago. He went from not talking to teammates, hardly participating in practice, and getting kicked out to addressing his teammates and seeking professional help for his mental health concerns.
Last Friday, Doc Rivers and several members of the Sixers made it apparent that Simmons and the organization are moving in the right direction. While it's unclear if Simmons will actually suit up and play for the Sixers again or not this year, there's been a lot of progress made in the past few days.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.