NBA rookie Ben Simmons suffered an injury during a Philadelphia 76ers scrimmage on Friday. The most recent top draft pick reportedly rolled his right ankle at the team’s final training camp scrimmage in New Jersey and had an MRI and X-ray taken. The NY Daily News reported that Simmons broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot. There is no timetable for the rookie forward’s return, but Simmons seems to be part of a tragic trend that has been hampering the 76ers and their young prospects over the past several seasons.
The latest injury is certainly unfortunate news for the Philadelphia 76ers and Ben Simmons with the season just around the corner. The heralded rookie out LSU was expected to contribute right away to helping his team improve from their prior season’s finish. Just recently, Yardbarker even reported about Simmons’ progress in terms of bulking up ahead of his rookie campaign to get ready. He apparently worked out in the company of basketball stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade over the summer. Simmons was said to have added 33 pounds of muscle in an effort to gain more strength for his transition to the pro basketball world.
His athleticism and skills are considered almost second to none. The rookie has received plenty of compliments already from a variety of basketball stars before he’s even scored his first points in the league. That included recent NBA Hall of Fame inductee Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq, who now is an analyst on NBA on TNT, also was a product out of LSU. According to Complex, Shaq gave a lot of praise for Ben Simmons and even compared him to one of the game’s top stars.
“I know my guy’s going to be pretty good, Ben Simmons. He’s a LeBron-type player. What I mean by that, LeBron does a nice job of making everybody else around him better — passing the ball, doing the small things — and Ben is that type of player.”
Being compared to LeBron James certainly gives Simmons some high expectations to meet ahead of his first regular season game. However, many analysts believe he has the skill set that will help him emerge as one of the game’s next stars. Working out with LeBron is one way to follow his lead too. Of course, he’ll have to recover from his injury first, which could take six to eight weeks or longer, depending on if surgery is required.
The Ben Simmons injury is not the first tragedy to strike a young 76ers player. Philadelphia players Nerlens Noel from Kentucky and Joel Embiid from Kansas were each heralded young stars coming into the league, who were set back by injuries ahead of their starts for Philadelphia. Noel was not originally drafted by Philadelphia, but they ended up making a trade deal to acquire him.
The former Kentucky Wildcats big man ended up missing his first season due to his recovery from an ACL tear in his left knee. Embiid was the third pick for the Sixers in 2014 but had to miss his first two seasons due to surgery on a broken navicular bone in his right foot. Noel finally got to start contributing, but Embiid has yet to play in an actual game. It appears he might be ready for the upcoming season, but now Simmons, the latest prospect, will be out of action for the rebuilding 76ers.
The latest edition of the NBA season is set to tip-off on October 25. The Philadelphia 76ers are currently considered longshots for Vegas future odds to win the NBA Finals at 500-to-1, ranking just above the Sacramento Kings, Brooklyn Nets, and Phoenix Suns. With no Simmons, it will mean the rookie’s transition to becoming a team leader will be put on hold, while Philadelphia attempts to have a respectable start to their season without him in the lineup.
[Featured Image by Nick Laham/Getty Images]