What the Ben Simmons’ Injury Means for the Sixers Season
After a frustrating season where many fans and media members wondered if the 76ers could succeed with their two generational superstars together, Philadelphia now has an even more daunting concern: Can the 76ers succeed with just one?
Ben Simmons Injury
Just four minutes into Saturday’s primetime matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ben Simmons left the game for good after scoring a layup. It has now been revealed that the Sixers two-way star has a nerve impingement in his lower back and is expected to be sidelined for an extended period of time.
The specifics of that timeline are still entirely murky at this stage. Here’s what little we do know. This injury is not related to the stiff back that kept him out of a recent content with the Nets. Simmons is undergoing daily treatment and will be officially reevaluated in two weeks. Kyle Neubeck from PhillyVoice believes there is a wide range of potential injuries at play and it could be as serious as a herniated disc. That situation is probably worse-case. The Philadelpiha organization is hopeful that treatment can improve the nerve impingement over time and the injury won’t have playoff ramifications. Again, nothing certain is known and it’s just a waiting game for the Sixers at this point.
It is encouraging to see how the team, and specifically Joel Embiid, responded in the direct aftermath of this news. The big man had a career-high 49 points in addition to 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and a block. What’s even more impressive than the point total is just how efficient Embiid played to get there, shooting 17-for-24 from the field and 14-for-15 from the charity stripe.
It’s beyond obvious that Embiid will need to consistently play at a superstar level to keep the Sixers ship afloat in the competitive eastern conference. After the win against the Hawks, Coach Brett Brown echoed this mantra stating, “It’s clear he’s got to come out and he’s got to play like he did tonight for the most part”. While the Sixers do need to be careful about overworking Embiid, a superstar who is always an injury risk, this untimely injury for Simmons will give them a glimpse of how high his ceiling is as he will be expected to shoulder heavy burdens night after night.
The rest of the team has to make changes in order to contribute during Simmons’ absence as well. It is likely that Josh Richardson will receive more ball handling opportunities. Beyond that, the Sixers will rotate in the likes of Alec Burks, Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, and Raul Neto to see which combination works most effectively.
It was Shake Milton who got the start against the Hawks, with Al Horford also being reinserted into the starting lineup. Both players performed relatively well, but it will be the ability for those players, among others, to achieve consistency alongside Embiid that will determine the status of the 76ers without Ben Simmons.