The Philadelphia 76ers have several injuries currently impacting their roster. Some of them have some conspiracy theories attached to them.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been impacted by injuries heavily over the past few years. Nerlens Noel sat out his rookie year due to an ACL tear, Joel Embiid missed his first two seasons due to a foot fracture, last season Jahlil Okafor missed the last 20 games or so due to a knee injury, and now Ben Simmons is out indefinitely with a foot fracture.
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Of course, the team also experiences general bumps and bruises along the way each season that most teams see occur. As of late, however, some of the injuries that have occurred — all even before the regular season — have been in somewhat curious circumstances, leading to some conspiracy theories.
Teams hiding injury information from fans is something that is dangerous on a lot of levels. For one, the team will, of course, lose many fans’ trust if they outright lie about an injury and it is found out.
Secondly, it reflects quite poorly on the team in a professional sense. Other teams will not want to trade and work with teams that lie about their players’ injuries and medical history, because they can’t completely accept that they are getting a good product in return when trading players. That’s quite understandable.
Overall, I hope the Sixers aren’t running conspiracies regarding the health of their players, but we never know.
Sep 26, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view of the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex during media day. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
A precedent of fans coming up with theories
Some minor lying about how injuries occurred probably happens around the league at least a few times every season, but these conspiracies are a bit bigger.
The Sixers are at no shortage of conspiracy theories when it comes to injuries. Just last season, when Nerlens Noel missed a few games due to a fractured hand that was reportedly due to a fall, fans called out the team on their possible bluff, since the hand that was fractured was the same hand that Noel punched a wall with after being ejected for a flagrant II foul.
These conspiracy theories go a bit more deep, and seem to tell a tale of the future of the team. Of course, there are no reports backing these up — that’s why they’re conspiracies — so take these with a grain of salt, and decide for yourself whether or not you think they’re true or not.
Also, I want to be clear — I don’t necessarily believe or not believe any of these theories. Many of these are theories I discussed with George Kondoleon on a recent episode of We Talkin’ Bout Podcast?
Sep 26, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) during media day at the Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The first theory has to do with the recent “groin strain” that Nerlens Noel obtained. Noel reported discomfort in his groin following the first preseason game this year, and the Sixers promptly took him out of the rest of their preseason games so far.
This seems fairly routine. Players are often reporting their own discomforts to team staffs and getting them checked out. With Noel, however, and the recent actions he has taken, things are a bit different.
Noel, a day before the Sixers’ media day, was quoted by Keith Pompey as saying he didn’t see a way the Sixers logjam at the center position could work out. Noel, the next day at media day, seemed incredibly uninterested in having to do anything with the team.
Another thing to note was that Noel was the only player that day to address the media with no Sixers apparel on. He simply wore an NBA Players Association shirt instead.
Noel seems clearly unhappy with his current situation, and rightfully so. He’s been asked to adjust to different positions and it hasn’t worked. He’s now being asked to work alongside two other natural centers, and somehow prove to the league that he’s a solid basketball player. He’s in a contract year, so he wants to be in the best situation possible to get himself a contract.
What Noel seems to be forgetting, however, is that he’s basically at the mercy of the Sixers. They can keep him if they want (he is a restricted free agent after this season) and if they don’t feel like trading him (or another big man) right now, they really don’t have to.
Could Noel be faking this injury to further his annoyance to the team to get traded? It’s possible, but I truly think Noel is smarter than that. Acting like that won’t get him traded. If anything, it will just result in less minutes, and therefore, likely a smaller contract as well.
Mar 1, 2016; Villanova, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jahlil Okafor watches game between Villanova Wildcats and DePaul Blue Demons during the second half at The Pavilion. Villanova defeated DePaul, 83-62. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The second conspiracy is surrounding one of the other big men — Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor has yet to play a single second of preseason, and didn’t really participate in training camp a whole lot. At the end of last season, Okafor underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus, which led to him missing the final 20 games or so of the season.
Okafor, over the summer, worked out a bit with his former Duke coaches (on a limited basis, because of his recover) and was also a part of the Team USA Select team. Okafor played just a session or two with Team USA before he was lowered to non-contact only to protect his injury.
Later on, we found out that he sprained his ankle over the summer, but it wasn’t anything serious.
All throughout the summer, it was reported that Okafor’s injury was going well, and that he was recovering well. At the same time, it’s hard for fans to see Okafor on the sideline and wonder what is going on, and why he’s not playing in the games if he’s healthy.
Overall, it could be nothing at all. That’s the hope, and in all reality, it probably is nothing. Here, it’s likely that the team is just being precautions in their approach to his injury, and don’t feel it’s worth it to risk re-injury.
That being said, there is the small chance that the team is covering something up, and trying to keep information from fans.
With all the other injuries going on, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Sixers want to keep injury information about one of their promising big men to fans. Things have already been discouraging enough as of late and over the past few years, and another injury would only make fan morale worse, therefore driving sales down. It also makes things harder for the big man logjam, which is a hot topic among fans.