Ben Simmons Out for 76ers vs. Trail Blazers Because of Calf Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, left, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is being held out of Thursday's game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers because of a left calf injury, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. 

Simmons, 24, remains one of the NBA's most polarizing players. On one hand, he's an elite, multipositional defender and one of the NBA's best passers (8.0 APG this season) who is deadly in transition. On the other, he often doesn't make a major impact in Philly's half-court offense and is averaging career lows in shots (9.5) and points (13.4) per game. 

That, and his reluctance to shoot jumpers, can bog down the Sixers offense at times. 

Still, Simmons is a phenomenal athlete who at 6'11" can defend all five positions. He's clearly a point guard in transition, more of a 4 in the half court and someone who can get to the basket at will when he's playing aggressively. 

He's an enigma, in other words, and one who both regularly keeps the Sixers in the postseason conversation and in the past has capped their upside. He's also uniquely difficult to replace when injured. 

The Sixers will likely turn to rookie Tyrese Maxey to handle the point guard duties while Simmons is out, keeping Shake Milton in his sixth-man role. But players like Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz should also see their minutes increase. 

Simmons scratches more than one itch for the Sixers, so it will take more than a few different players to make up for his absence.