Ben Simmons' Knee Injury 'Stings, for Sure,' Says 76ers HC Brett BrownAugust 6, 2020
The Philadelphia 76ers seemed like one of the NBA teams who could benefit most from more than 140 days between games.
Injuries to key players continually set the team back all throughout the season and the league's hiatus allowed the club to return to full strength. At least that was the case until Wednesday, when Ben Simmons exited early against the Washington Wizards with a subluxation of the left patella—a partially dislocated kneecap.
Now Philadelphia's postseason dreams are once again in doubt with Simmons sidelined indefinitely.
"It's the life that we have lived since I've been in Philadelphia," head coach Brett Brown said Thursday. "This one stings, for sure. We all felt like, with the pandemic ... it obviously bought time for Ben."
It's the second time this year the Sixers have been forced to ponder what a postseason run without Simmons could look like. The first time around didn't seem too promising.
Following a back injury in February, it appeared as though Simmons would be out for the remainder of the season. Instead, the NBA's hiatus allowed him time to heal and gave the team its All-Star guard back for the league's restart.
Philadelphia went 4-4 in eight games following Simmons' injury and didn't look particularly threatening, falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. The Sixers have yet to beat a team above .500 in 2020 without Simmons in the lineup, but will have two more opportunities to do so before the playoffs begin—closing out the seeding games in Orlando against the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets.
"Guys will pick up the slack, and when we get him back, he'll fit back in seamlessly," guard Josh Richardson told reporters. "Ben is an All-Star, so he's not going to be easy to replace, but the rest of our team will do as good of a job as we can."
Few players are as versatile as the 6'10", 240-pounder who can play anywhere on the floor. Philadelphia will have to account for that loss as well as the 16.4 points, eight assists and 7.8 rebounds per game Simmons averages.
If they can figure out how to do so, a deep postseason run becomes much more probable.