Ben Simmons arrived and departed from the Philadelphia 76ers’ training facility Thursday without taking part in a scheduled individual workout, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Simmons was reportedly treated for back tightness. Philadelphia was docking his pay before he reported to the facility, but injured players do receive their full pay. Simmons has missed time in the past due to back issues. He is expected to speak with the organization Friday before shootaround about his playing status moving forward, according to Wojnarowski, and the team is still hopeful that Simmons will participate in that shootaround.
Simmons is not mentally ready to play for the 76ers yet, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. He will miss Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets and is expected to continue sitting out for an undetermined period of time. Simmons was suspended for Wednesday’s opening night win over the New Orleans Pelicans after refusing to participate in a defensive drill.
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“I thought he was a distraction today,” Rivers said of Simmons after suspending him. “I didn’t think he wanted to do what everyone else was doing. At the end of the day, as a coach, I had to protect the team. The team [comes] first, and then we get to the other part. So today, I thought it was more important to focus on the team.”
The embattled three-time All-Star held out for most of training camp while hoping to be traded. He did not get a trade, though, and the 76ers began fining him for the time that he missed. Simmons eventually reported to Philadelphia and returned to practice, but he has not played in any preseason or regular-season games for the 76ers. Friday is the team’s home opener.
To date, Philadelphia has proven unable to find a satisfactory trade package for Simmons. The 76ers have reportedly sought an enormous return for their young star, but with All-Stars like Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal seemingly unavailable, Philadelphia has held firm and refused to take lesser offers. The situation grows more and more contentious by the day, but for now, Simmons remains an unhappy member of the 76ers.