The Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night. Don’t expect to see Ben Simmons roaming around the corridors he once called home. “There is no chance” of Simmons making the trip, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The plugged-in basketball reporter gave a new update on Simmons during a Sunday appearance on NBA Countdown. Wojnarowski explained there is “tremendous urgency” for the three-time All-Star to make his Nets debut after he started ramping up basketball activities. He has the earliest return date slated for March 13.
“There’s tremendous urgency around the Nets to get Ben Simmons on the court, to get him incorporated and playing with this team,” Wojnarowski said. “That back problem has been an issue for him since he started ramping up. He’s essentially just done individual work at their facility. They’re hoping by the end of next week, the end of this week, he’ll be able to do more.”
But Thursday (March 10) is out of the question.
“There is no chance he is playing in Philly on Thursday,” Wojnarowski said.
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Sixers Fall to Heat Without James Harden
The Sixers had been rolling with James Harden in the starting five. They had won five straight contests entering Saturday’s showdown with the Miami Heat, including a perfect 4-0 since Harden’s arrival. That streak is over.
Miami beat Philadelphia 99-82 on Saturday as Harden sat out due to “left hamstring maintenance.” Miami never trailed against Philly and led by as many as 20 points in the first half. The Heat (43-22) now hold a three-game lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers (39-24) remain in second place with 17 games left in the regular season.
“I really don’t look at the standings,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said, via The Associated Press. “What do they matter? You have to win. And I swear to God, after 82, someone’s going to tap me and say ‘This is who you’re playing.’ … You can only control what you can control. The other stuff is for everyone else to talk about.”
ESPN Analyst Rips Simmons’ Mental Health Issues
Simmons has been sitting out games this season due to a back injury and mental health issues. The latter has been a topic of much debate, with several people saying the former Sixers guard has been faking it.
He’s not really mentally ill, just scared to face the Philly fans. We’re not here to judge him on that. However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went on a hardcore rant to discredit Simmons’ claims.
“There are people who believe Ben Simmons was telling the truth, and there are people who believe he is lying,” Smith said during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take. “How are you able to travel with the team, sit around with them, cheer all day long, support the team, but you can’t bounce a basketball? It makes no sense, it makes no sense. It’s a bunch of BS going on with the Brooklyn Nets organization and you should be ashamed of being a part of it.”