After years of futility, the Philadelphia 76ers were hoping to finally build a strong foundation for their team by drafting Ben Simmons No. 1 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Yet before Simmons' rookie season could even start, he broke his foot in a team scrimmage and it looked like he would miss a significant chunk of the season. There were even rumors that Simmons' agent may force him to sit out the whole season at the risk of re-injury.
But according to Sixers coach Brett Brown, Simmons will play this season and is actually on schedule to return in January.
On Friday, coach Brett Brown confirmed that the first overall pick is scheduled to return in January. League sources previously said that Simmons would be out for three months.
"It's not doom and gloom," Brown said when asked when asked how his team is adjusting to its various injuries at the moment. "Ben is coming back in January. We are still trying to find information on Jerryd [Bayless]. Jahlil [Okafor] is still trying to touch the court in his first preseason game."
January is not too late in the season, so Simmons will be able to experience a good portion of his first year in the NBA on the court instead of just on the bench in street clothes. It would still be quite tough for Simmons to make up any ground in the Rookie of the Year race though. However, having Simmons actually playing, will help the Sixers determine what players fit best around him and gives Philadelphia a chance to see how he pairs with Joel Embiid, who is healthy after missing the last two seasons due to injury.
It should be noted that doesn't mean Simmons is for sure coming back in January. The Sixers and Simmons himself, will likely be cautious and not want to rush anything. Plus Philadelphia isn't vying for a championship this season so Simmons can take his time with his rehab. But January is when Simmons is scheduled to return, which is a lot better sounding than missing the whole season.