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January 18, 2017

Report: Ben Simmons might be back after all-star break

As expected, ESPN had no inside information of a Ben Simmons return for next week's nationally televised game against the Houston Rockets. The Sixers-Rockets game is simply a more intriguing matchup than Bulls-Heat to the higher-ups in Bristol, as Simmons won't make his season debut that night.

"There is no chance," Brett Brown said before Wednesday's game against the Toronto Raptors. "I'm a social media hermit, I have no idea what you're talking about. But I do know that there is no chance he will play that night."

What there is a good chance of is Sixers fans not seeing the No. 1 pick, who broke his foot in training camp, until after the all-star break or maybe even not at all in the 2016-17 season. Here's the report from ESPN's Chris Haynes:

Barring a recovery setback, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance at being on course to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

During training camp, Simmons, 20, fractured the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot and was ruled out indefinitely following surgery. His foot has completely healed, sources say.

As we speculated about on the last Sixers Beat, Simmons returning in early February for a few games would make for an awkward fit with a long layoff looming. The Sixers were always going to be patient with Simmons, so if a return this season will happen, it sounds like it still might at least be a few weeks away.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann