Sixers Ready to Move Forward Without Ben Simmons
The Sixers got some bad news on Thursday regarding Ben Simmons injured left knee, and with the NBA playoffs just a week and a half away from starting its looking more and more likely they will begin without Simmons services.
Simmons suffered a subluxation of his left patella, or what is being described as a partially dislocated left knee cap during Wednesday's game against the Wizards. While there is no ligament damage to the knee, it is still serious enough that the Sixers might have to be ready to play without their young star for a considerable amount of time.
"I feel numb to it," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said on Thursday. "I feel conditioned that we've gone through this type of thing before."
Brown's words don't exactly sound like he anticipates Simmons services anytime soon, but he says he is keeping the faith that his team can keep it together until his all-star can return.
"There is a level of faith I have in the rest of the team, that we can hold the fort until we can hopefully get him back," Brown stated.
In Brown's seven years in Philadelphia he has seen it all, multiple injures have decimated the team since he was hired in 2013. Joel Embiid missed two full seasons before he ever stepped on the floor and he's been injured at various times since. Ben Simmons missed his entire rookie year with a broken foot. Former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz barely played due to mysterious aliments and many others have missed time with injury since Brown's arrival.
However even with all he has been through he is trying to remain positive.
"Snake-bitten, woe is me, I don't go there," Brown acknowledged.
The team had turned to Shake Milton to run the point, and moved Simmons over to more of a point-forward position. With Simmons out, the Sixers might turn to Milton for more scoring. Simmons is averaging 16.4 points per game this season, and is also one of the top defensive players in the league and can defend multiple positions on the floor making him a huge loss.
"It's tough for us," Milton admitted on Thursday. "Ben is an incredible player, incredible athlete. He's like a freak, super-human. Hopefully he is able to heal super fast and get back on the court, because we definitely need him."
Without him the Sixers have a few options to replace him. They can go back to Al Horford, or enter guys like Glenn Robinson III or rookie Matissee Thybulle to the lineup. Each brings something different to the court, but none of them are Simmons.
With Simmons the Sixers would need a lot of things to go there way to make a deep playoff run, but the potential was there. Without him, Sixers fans might be looking at a very interesting offseason after a tumultuous season filled with unfulfilled promise.
They play the Orlando Magic tonight, without Simmons, from the Orlando Bubble. You can listen to the game live at 6 p.m. with Tom McGinnis on the call on 97.3 ESPN.