You could not have dreamed up a scenario that more embodied the Philadelphia 76ers.
After presumably drafting the player that was going to save the franchise, lead them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, and bring relevancy back to Philadelphia basketball, he winds up injured without even playing an official game.
This isn’t just any injury either; it’s a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot - the same injury that kept Kevin Durant out almost the entire year the season before last.
Due to the lack of blood flow to that specific area of the foot, healing time (initially diagnosed three to four months) is tenuous and chance of re-injury is far higher than usual.
Also, it was on the final day of training camp. Wow.
However, on Friday, 76ers head coach Brett Brown was almost masochistically upbeat about the injury, mentioning he was “excited to dig into a different part of [Simmons’] development.”
It definitely sounds like Brown has well and truly been through the five stages of grief, and reached the fifth stage, “acceptance”.
For a man who once coached in the NBL and the Australian national team, it is almost fitting that he is dealing with his superstar Aussie with the “she’ll be right” mantra reflected down under.
After all, Simmons could surely not be in better hands.
Phila medical staff have just spent two full seasons battling a broken navicular bone in fellow young star Joel Embiid’s right foot, and judging by some encouraging pre-season action, they have done a successful job.
Without going overboard, what stands out most about Embiid’s pre-season matches thus far is not only a full recovery, but the level of development seen in his game since we last saw him on a court.
The latter point is what exactly Brett Brown is excited about in regards to Simmons’ time off the court, whether it is the initially diagnosed 12-15 week recovery time or the entire year, as some are reporting.
“There needs to be understanding that there’s an opportunity to educate [Simmons] in the film room, watching different NBA players and teaching him,” described Brown.
It’s disappointing right now for [Simmons] obviously,” Philly point guard Jerryd Bayless said.
But at the same time, you can look at it as a blessing in disguise. He gets to watch the game. He gets to see the game close up…a lot have guys have gone it from Jabari [Parker] to Blake Griffin, missed [their] first year,”
“But at the same time it’s a chance to step back, see the game from a different perspective.”
To have coached the Sixers for the past three seasons, you’d have to be a pretty upbeat and peppy fellow.
Brett Brown’s optimism is exactly the kind of sense of humour required by a head coach in this situation of perpetual damnation.
Brown excluded, no one is ever happy about an injury. But maybe this one doesn’t measure as high on the Richter scale as initially thought.
On the Kevin Ware scale of injured basketballers, this one doesn’t quite measure the full 10, nor the 1 that Brown describes it as. Let’s label it about a 6.