Danny Green Would Be 'Highly Surprised' If Ben Simmons Plays vs. 76ers on March 10

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 23, 2022

Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons sits on the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The city of Philadelphia is champing at the bit for Ben Simmons' return as a member of the Brooklyn Nets next month.

Danny Green doesn't think it'll happen.

The Sixers guard said he believes Simmons will not play when the Nets travel to Philadelphia on March 10.

"I'd be highly surprised if he even plays in that game," Green said on his Inside the Green Room podcast, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice. "I don't know where his health is mentally, physically, I know he had other issues, and we all know he does not like to play in Philly. If he does play in that game, I'd be highly surprised."

The Sixers sent Simmons to the Nets at the trade deadline as the centerpiece of a deal that brought James Harden to Philly. The trade ended a months-long saga between Simmons and the Sixers, with the three-time All-Star requesting a trade in the offseason and then citing mental health reasons for why he couldn't play this season.

Simmons has not played in an NBA game since Game 7 of the Sixers' Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks, which proved pivotal in his desire to leave the franchise. A clearly rattled Simmons struggled throughout the series, particularly from the free-throw line, and passed up a wide-open dunk late in a close Game 7, seemingly out of fear of being fouled. 

The Sixers fanbase voraciously booed Simmons at multiple points in that game, and he got less-than-enthusiastic comments about his performance from head coach Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid afterward. The relationship between Embiid and Simmons soured to the point that after the trade, Embiid posted a photo on Twitter that means "RIP Bozo" in internet parlance. (Embiid would later meet the originator of that meme following his viral tweet.)

Sixers fans instantly circled the March 10 date as soon as the Simmons trade went through. Tickets on the secondary market are a minimum of $138 to get in, more than double any other Sixers remaining home game this season. 

"I see it as being a very hectic, playoff-like atmosphere and environment to where it may be very rough for him," Green said of the Sixers crowd should Simmons play in the game.

Simmons has not given a timetable for his Nets debut. He told reporters he hopes to play in Philadelphia.