After ending his hold-out in a surprise return to Philadelphia six days ago, Ben Simmons participated in the Sixers’ practice on Sunday. The Sixers made reporters aware that he would be available to the media on either Monday or Tuesday. Media were not given access to watch Simmons at all on Sunday.
According to head coach Doc Rivers, Simmons is in “decent” shape, but did not deem him to be conditioned well enough to play in games yet. As for the three-time All-Star’s status ahead of Wednesday’s season-opener in New Orleans, Rivers said, “I don’t know yet. I’m gonna wait and see.” Rivers later added, “When he’s ready, he’ll play.” That means there is no timeline — at least one that the Sixers are willing to reveal publicly — for Simmons to appear in games. Right now, according to Rivers, the focus is on getting Simmons “comfortable and integrated”.
As for the feeling around the team, Tobias Harris and Furkan Korkmaz spoke about the environment. “We’re here for one thing, that’s to be the best team we can be and compete, get better as a group,” Harris said. “So all the energy and this or that, the vibe was what it was. Was it perfect? No. But, we’re here to do a job and that’s to win basketball games.”
Wing Furkan Korkmaz described Simmons’ integration to the team at today’s practice as “professional”. There were no hard feelings, nor was there a conversation intended to clear the air. “It was good to have him back. Personally, I missed him,” Korkmaz said Sunday. “To be on the same floor with him again, personally I’m happy to see him back here on the court and I hope we have more work to do.”
From the sounds of it, Simmons might have some chemistry to rebuild with his teammates if he still cares about the team. Now that he’s back in Philly, the 25-year-old is going to have to start speaking for himself. That is, unless Rich Paul steps to the podium on his behalf one of these days.
Rivers expects guard Shake Milton (sprained right ankle) to be out for the season-opener. “Shake is nowhere near playing yet,” Rivers said. “He’ll be out for a while.”
Wing Matisse Thybulle said that his right shoulder is improving. He expects to be available for Wednesday’s season-opening affair.
Forward Tobias Harris said that his knee is improving, as well. “I felt good out there, so we’ll see how it reacts tomorrow and go from there, day by day,” Harris said on Sunday. He missed the team’s last two preseason games with right knee soreness.
The Sixers will open the season in New Orleans on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 PM EST. You can catch the action on NBC Sports Philadelphia.