A timeline of Ben Simmons recovery updates

Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017 05:34 PM

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, 76ers current (and, seemingly, forever) rookie forward Ben Simmons will have a visit to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to determine whether his right foot is fully healed.

The checkup could happen as early as next Monday, according to Pompey.

Pompey, citing sources, says that a scan on January 23rd revealed the foot was not fully healed. Which, besides being frightening in and of itself, also contradicts virtually everything that has been reported since, even if it does make sense given the lack of apparent ramping up of his workouts since he was cleared to begin participating in 5-on-0 activity on January 10th.

Here’s a timeline of what’s been reported:

October 4th: Ben Simmons has surgery to repair a Jones fracture in the 5th metatarsal of his right foot. The Sixers do not give a timeline for his recovery, but most conservative estimates place it at around 10-12 weeks to be fully healed, which would mean a typical recovery timeline of late December / early January. [PhillyMag.com]

October 21st: Head coach Brett Brown talks about a potential January return to action.

October 22nd: Brett Brown walks that timeline back, saying he was just getting excited and that there is no official timeline. [Philly.com]

December 13th: Simmons is able to shoot free-throws without his walking boot. [@Sixers]

January 10th: Ben Simmons is cleared to begin participating in 5-on-0 drills [ESPN.com].

January 19th: Ben Simmons has reportedly been cleared for 5-on-5 activity and the Sixers will begin gradually increasing his conditioning and on-court workload. The report says he “has a chance to take the hardwood near March”, although there “still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season”. [ESPN.com]

January 21st: President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo says Ben Simmons will have a “final scan” on Monday, January 23rd. [@brianseltzer]

January 24th: The January 23rd scan revealed Simmons is “progressing as expected”, but still no timetable for return. [@JCameratoCSN]

NOTE: On February 16th, Keith Pompey reports this scan revealed Simmons’ foot was, in fact, not fully healed.

February 13th: Brett Brown rules Simmons out for 5-on-5 activity during the All-Star break. [@BobCooney76]

February 15th: Brett Brown reiterates that he “fully expects” to see Simmons this season, but the rookie is still limited to individual workouts and 5-on-0 drills, which doesn’t appear to show very much on-court progress since he was initially cleared to play in non-contact 5-on-0 drills on January 10th, over a month earlier.

This all….doesn’t add up.

Why the lack of detail in the updates about Ben Simmons’ progress? Why, with what little detail has been given in these updates, are they so frequently contradicted? Why the clandestine nature of this whole thing? Are there two competing sides feeding conflicting sides of the story?

And, perhaps most importantly, why has there been so little change in his on-court activity from January 10th to now? That lack of progress, combined with this most recent report that the scan may not have been as clean as originally reported, raises significant concern.


Derek Bodner

Derek Bodner is a credentialed reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers independently for DerekBodner.com. He is also a college basketball scout for DraftExpress.com, and an NBA contributor for The Ringer. Contact Information: derek.bodner@draftexpress.com / @DerekBodnerNBA

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  • I TTP. but don’t at all trust the ownership and front office.

  • Chris

    Your making things up. That Jan 19 esp article never said he was cleared to play 5 on 5.

    There is an error in the article that says he had already played 5 on 5 the week before (he played 5 on 0).

    Even with that clear error, it never says he was cleared to play.

    They also never said he was perfectly healed.

    It all adds up perfectly, just really slowly.

    • The ESPN article I linked to said the following:

      “His current rehab will be centered on gradually increasing his conditioning and on-court workload. Last week he participated in 5-on-5 drills for the first time.”

      (Note: the team doesn’t allow him to play in 5-on-5 drills without clearing him to play on 5-on-5 drills. That’s implied within the report).


      “His foot has completely healed, sources said.”

      I never said that *they* claimed it was 100% healed. Leading into the timeline I literally said “Here’s a timeline of what’s been reported”. You cannot say that *I’m* making things up when I’m relaying what others have reported, while saying that I’m relaying what others have reported. My entire post focused on the inconsistency of the reports and the lack of detail from the team.

      So no, I’m not making things up. Reports may have been wrong, but that’s kind of the point of the article: that the team is providing scant updates along the way and reports have been maddeningly inconsistent.

      • Chris

        It depends I guess on how much you respect the intelligence of your readers, and what ‘facts’ your happy to regurgitate.

        The sixers own statements have been very consistent, I think early on brown got trigger happy on dates, but they cleared that up next day.

        It’s more maddening that people are happy to repost clearly wrong statements as facts. But your part of a bigger problem in journalism, where so long as it suits an agenda we are happy to say things that are just untrue.

        It’s a cycle too, as now we will see someone quote your timeline, and perpetuate the ‘facts’ while at the same time making them harder for people reading to confirm because it’s now deeper in that chain.

        Say all yo want, but I don’t like it.

        • “It depends I guess on how much you respect the intelligence of your readers, and what ‘facts’ your happy to regurgitate.”

          I posted a timeline of reports to specifically show a lack of consistency in those reports.

          Then below that I talked about those reports, talking about his lack of progress in on-court activity from January 10th to now, clearly coming to the conclusion, and writing so, that the ESPN report on 5-on-5 activity was wrong.

          I made a distinction between the updates provided by team employees and that coming from outside organizations, hence citing, and linking to, everything.

          My criticism of the team was over a lack of updates and detail.

          But, like, be angry and stuff.

          • Chris

            I don’t feel angry, and it’s not about me. If you’re happy with the content then I don’t want to change it.

            • Avatar Roku

              This guy is just a troll.

        • phartmuseum

          One of the main points is that the Sixers PR/Front office didn’t make any effort to clearly report Ben Simmons’ recovery progress and left journalists, some of whom were not scrupulous in their own reporting, to fill the vacuum of information. That the Sixers would let the media fill in those blanks, especially in an era of blogging and social media, is in my view either a 1)PR & messaging failure, or 2) A clever omission of accurate information by the Sixers’ PR/marketing department in order to drive fan intrigue and ticket sales, especially around the expected return of Ben Simmons, which was reported to be just after the all-star break.

  • Veritas Vincit

    Camerato reports that it’s “going as expected”, but a few weeks later pompey reports “it’s not fully healed”.
    This is all just vague semantics, but nothing really contradictory. But the question I have is where do these two get their info? Would the info come straight from the organization or bryan?

    Also, Did Pompey reveal something contradictory or did he just state something more clearly than Camerato was able to a few weeks prior, saying that essentially the healing was going as expected although he’s still not fully healed technically…or, is Pompey actually saying there’s a problem with the healing and that the sixers were disingenuous before when releasing the info that Ben was healing as expected?

    Anyway, just curious about this and also how they gather their intel…

  • Avatar Roku

    This front office is so shady. I bought tickets for the Bucks game in March expecting to see Embiid or Simmons due to the “progressing” injury updates, welp looks like I’ll be watching Okafor since BC can’t make a trade.