The Philadelphia 76ers’ status as NBA contenders — already in doubt — took another blow Thursday.
The team said Ben Simmons is out with a subluxation of his left kneecap and will be out while evaluating treatment options. A subluxation is described as partial dislocation of a joint that returns to normal position without the help of a medical professional.
“There’s a lot of moving parts right now,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said in a video conference with reporters Thursday. “We’re all coming to grips with the news that we received.”
Brown would not say if Simmons is out for the season. He said more information should be forthcoming in the next 24 hours.
“Some of this information is fluid,” Brown said. “It’s just that stuff is still being evaluated.”
Simmons injured his knee in Wednesday’s 107-98 win over the Washington Wizards. He grabbed a rebound, dribbled down court and passed to Al Horford. Simmons flexed his knee after a whistle stopped play and left the court for the locker room and did not return.
Simmons, 24, is one of the NBA’s most dynamic players. He averages 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and eight assists.
It seems at times the Sixers are cursed with injuries. Center Joel Embiid was not completely healthy for either the 2018 or 2019 playoffs.
“It’s the life we have led since I’ve been In Philadelphia,” Brown said. “This one stings for sure. I feel numbed to it. I feel conditioned to it that we’ve gone through this type of thing before. There is a level of faith that I have in the rest of the team that we can hold the fort until we hopefully get him back. But snake bitten, woe is me, I don’t go there.”
Before the NBA shut down in March, Simmons missed eight games with a back injury. The Sixers went 4-4 in those contests.
Brown praised Simmons for how hard he worked to get healthy for the NBA restart.
“I don’t know if anyone really understood what he did to get ready to play basketball again. He really invested time,” Brown said. “It’s monotonous, some of the smaller things he had to do. He’s a great teammate, and his teammates care about him.”
The Sixers are 2-1 since the NBA season resumed inside a bubble at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. They are currently the No. 6 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers raised questions about their status as playoff contenders with their performance in their first two bubble games.
In their first game, the 76ers gave up 46 points in the fourth quarter of a 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers last Saturday.
The Sixers followed that effort by allowing 43 points in the fourth quarter in a 132-130 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
Philadelphia will play the fourth of eight seeding games at 6:30 p.m. Friday against the Orlando Magic. The playoffs are scheduled to start Aug. 17.
“I think the group has it in them to galvanize,” Brown said, “to find some insulation as it relates to team stuff to navigate through this.”
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