Sixers coach on Ben Simmons: “We do expect him to play this year”

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We’ve started to have a taste of what the Sixers might become. When Joel Embiid is on the court, they show a lot of promise, and even when he’s not — which has been 11-of-12 due to injury — the culture coach Brett Brown has built there is starting to show. The Sixers aren’t a pushover anymore.

But we all want to see what they look like with No. 1 pick Ben Simmons in the lineup.

That may not happen soon, he’s not even going to play 5-on-5 over the All-Star break, but it is coming coach Brett Brown told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“We do expect him to play this year,” Brett Brown said before the Sixers played the Celtics on Wednesday. “It is our expectation that he will get on a court. It’s moving slowly. It’s calculated. We’re trying to be very careful.”

Simmons suffered a Jones fracture to his foot in training camp, and the Sixers are understandably cautious — this is a potential franchise player and foot injuries can be chronic things if not allowed to fully heal. We know from watching how the organization was with injuries to Embiid and Nerlens Noel in their first years, the Sixers default setting is very cautious.

However, he is moving closer to getting on the court and showing off those passing gifts.

“I feel like after the All-Star break, when he’s got a chance to begin practicing with us and start playing against actual defensive people and him guarding, then we will better judge on when that time frame is,” Brown said. “But I think the path right now is solid.”