Report: Ben Simmons could make season debut after All-Star Break

As the process moves forward for the Philadelphia 76ers, the debut of Ben Simmons may be on horizon.

After being drafted No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in June, Ben Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during practice in late September. He has progressed to on-court work this month, and with a switch of Philadelphia’s Jan. 27 game against the Houston Rockets to national television speculation about Simmons making his debut that night has followed.

Via Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, 76ers’ head coach Brett Brown has said there is “no chance” Simmons will play next Friday  night. But the LSU product’s NBA debut may still be coming sooner rather than later.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Simmons could make his debut shortly after the All-Star break. Barring a setback in his recovery, Simmons could reportedly take the court under a vague timetable of “near March”. There is still some chance Simmons sits out the entire season, but as long as increases in on-court workload and conditioning proceed as expected Simmons should be on the floor before his rookie season ends.

As for the role he will fill for the 76ers, immediately and perhaps in the future, Simmons is viewed as a point guard by Brown and the head coach has consistently reinforced that concept. At 6-foot-10 Simmons is an automatic mismatch for opposing point guards, and he was a stat sheet stuffer during his lone college season (19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game).

For the 76ers, Simmons long-term health has to be among their top priorities. Foot injuries are tricky, as the team learned the hard way with Joel Embiid, so the situation with Simmons will and should be handled delicately. But even with the long view in mind, and the likelihood of a minutes limit, Simmons should be playing meaningful NBA games somewhere around this time next month.

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