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December 13, 2016

Ben Simmons making progress in rehab of broken right foot

Tuesday at the Sixers practice facility in Camden, Ben Simmons shot free throws without a walking boot for the first time since undergoing surgery nine weeks ago, Brett Brown told media on hand at practice. From’s Brian Seltzer:

“That is significant," Brown stated with matter-of-fact emphasis.

“He walked out on the court in sneakers,” described Brown, “and he shot free throws. So, that is significant to me. You’re like, I got yah. Here we go.”

Simmons suffered the acute Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal stepping on teammate Shawn Long’s foot back on September 30th, the final day of training camp. Brown had previously said (and then walked back) that Simmons will return in January, which jibed with what most outside doctors felt the timetable would end up being.

Joel Embiid, who knows a thing or two about rehabbing injuries, said that the first thing he asked Simmons was how he felt taking the walking boot off, if even for a short amount of time.

“Now, you can get back on the court, you can start doing more stuff, you can start shooting. It just frees you up, and I’m sure he’s happy about it. I got better. I’m sure he’s going to get better, too.”

If and when Simmons does return to the court for games, he will have to make the adjustment of not being able to tweet something about Sauce whenever Nik Stauskas catches fire:

The Sixers’ adjustment as a team will be far greater. For a 6-18 team, Brown has a major roster crunch in the frontcourt. Even if he’s being groomed as a point guard, Simmons’ nominal position will be the 4, which the Sixers already have two of in Dario Saric and the quietly effective Ersan Ilyasova. We know all about the team’s three big men, a situation which will begin to play itself out shortly. And don’t forget poor Richaun Holmes.

Then there is the not-so-small adjustment of putting the ball in Simmons’ hands. 

Regardless of what happens, those problems are still probably a month away from starting to get answered. For now, the No. 1 overall draft pick is back on the floor, even in a limited role. That is good news for the Sixers. 

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann