Aussies in NBA: Simmons working hard on return

Simmons’ timetable for a return to playing condition is still unknown, after the 20 year old suffered a Jones fracture during Sixers training camp.

The fracture, which was the same injury suffered by Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant in 2014, was expected to keep Simmons on the shelf for 3-5 months. Since the original prognosis, no significant information has been revealed regarding a timetable for a Simmons return.

Despite early reports that Simmons’ agent Rich Paul wanted Simmons’ to sit out the season, the no.1 pick in the 2016 draft has expressed a desire to suit up for the Sixers as soon as possible.

"As soon as I get out there, I'd love to play," he said. "There's no timetable for getting healthy. I'm working every day to get back and as soon as they tell me I can play is when I'll be out there."

The CEO of the Sixers Scott O'Neal also sharply rejected the rumour that his star prospect was being held out of playing in the 2016-17 season by his agent.

"No, it's not true. Yes, he will be back." Said O'Neal quickly, after being asked about the rumours.

Head coach Brett Brown signalled January as the time for Simmons' return, however he later revoked that remark.

"I did mention a January hopeful return, and that was premature. That was a coach doing a lot more wishing than receiving instruction," the former Australian Boomers head coach said to the media, before his team played the Heat.

However it would be easy to see why Brown would be wishing for a speedy Simmons return.

It would appear that the strong ball handling and passing ability of Simmons is a noticeable absence from a currently struggling 76ers team, who have lost their first four games. In that span, the Sixers have the third highest turnover percentage in the league, right behind the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards. Putting a talented ball handler like Simmons on the floor would (hopefully for the Sixers) add some stability at the offensive helm, and resolve a lot of the problems that result in this inflated number of turnovers.

Despite strong play from young centre Joel 'The Process' Embiid, the Sixers are desperate for more size in the paint, being the fourth worst in terms of rebounding percentage and dead last in offensive rebounding. Getting back both Simmons and Nerlens Noel would bolster their size on the boards and possibly add a major advantage in size against smaller teams.

Ben Simmons has made news recently with his comments on the NCAA process, but the Sixers organisation and fans are hoping that in January, Simmons can make some news on the floor in the number 25.

“It was tough just knowing what happened,” he said during a CSN interview last month. “But I’ll have my first game eventually and my time will come.”