Could Ben Simmons' injury be more serious than expected?
As reported by ESPN's Tim Bontemps on Tuesday morning, sources via Adrian Wojnarowski had indicated that Philadelphia 76ers guard, Ben Simmons could be out of action "for an undetermined period of time".
The 76ers have yet to announce a timeline, as did head coach Brett Brown. "I don't know," Brown said on Tuesday, before the Sixers played the Atlanta Hawks. "It really is kind of, like, how long is a piece of string? Who knows? Who knows? Whatever the time equals on days, games, period of time, then we can talk more honestly as this thing shakes out. But as it sits right now, that's how I see the world."
The ideal situation, would be for this injury to be a speed bump in the grand course of things. Simmons makes a full recovery, the 76ers straighten their rotations out, close their regular season out strong --which includes their wayward road performances-- and make a dominant postseason run with their two stars in Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Australian Boomers come out strong in the Tokyo Olympics, led by Ben Simmons and Brett Brown, and make history, clinching a medal in the process. Ben Simmons' long-awaited debut as a senior Boomer is captured - picture perfect. His back injury becomes nothing more than a forgotten footnote in history, much like Michael Jordan's foot injury back in 1985.
Simmons was allegedly "emotional" after leaving the X-ray room in Milwaukee, and is still undergoing treatment and evaluation on his back. According to ESPN, news is expected to break soon, as early as Wednesday (Tuesday US time).
Should the back injury however, be diagnosed as an issue needing serious attention, things might happen quickly. A decision could be made to shut his regular season down, or even the postseason altogether, which would not be the worst idea. There's plenty of basketball left in Simmons' career, and there's no need to complicate matters by playing through injuries. We could see the Ewing theory come alive in Philadelphia, with the team rallying in Simmons' absence. Or, they might struggle valiantly, but get knocked out of the playoffs early.
In this scenario, it's not entirely inconceivable that something like this could also rule the Australian All-Star out for the Boomers' 2020 Olympics run. There's still plenty of veteran talent on the team, including but Simmons not playing would significantly alter Australia's lineup, especially on the back court rotation. A greater reliance would be placed on Patty Mills, who was the team's best scorer in the World Cup last year, Matthew Dellavedova --who has struggled this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers-- and Dante Exum, who exited Tuesday's game against the Miami Heat with a left ankle sprain.