The good news along those lines: Simmons is out of the walking boot he’s had since foot surgery following a fracture before the season.
The bad/expected news: It’s going to be a long time still before he takes the court.
Ben Simmons made another step toward his return — in sneakers. The first overall pick took free throws for the first time without a boot on Tuesday…
“He walked out on the court in sneakers and he shot free throws,” Brett Brown said after practice. “That is significant to me. Then he walked over to my office and sat down looking like he was healthy. There was no boot, there was nothing earlier that he was wheeling.”
Simmons is still just standing and shooting, that’s a long way from playing in an NBA game, but it’s progress. Brown was also cautious, saying the Sixers are not going to rush his return. Simmons has said he wants to play this season at some point.
Brown intends to use the 6’10” Simmons as a point guard who will have the ball in his hands often and handle a lot of the shot creation. At Summer League in Las Vegas, he showed the kind of passing gifts that few players possess, the kind that can’t be taught. Simmons and Brown have spent a lot of “classroom time” in the film room, but learning to be a playmaker in an NBA game is something that has to be learned by doing ultimately.
Hopefully, Simmons can start that process later this season.