Report: Ben Simmons will sit on Nets bench vs. 76ers in Philadelphia

Ben Simmons on bench in Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Ben Simmons won’t play in Nets-76ers on Thursday in Philadelphia.

No surprise there.

But Simmons – who’s dealing with back issues – will sit on the bench, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

That’d be no small matter for someone whose mental-health issues kept him playing for the 76ers in front of Philadelphia fans this season. Simmons was seen as too fragile to handle that environment. Though it’s not the stress of playing, Simmons sitting on the bench is more than than many expected from him.

You can be sure 76ers fans will jeer Simmons relentlessly as long they can see him. It’s possible to create an unwelcoming atmosphere without crossing lines. Hopefully, that’s what happens.

Charania also reports there’s optimism about Simmons returning later this month. Maybe Simmons will play in March. But the Nets’ unfounded confidence has worn thin. Also: Simmons returning within three-and-a-half weeks qualifies as the optimistic take? That’s not exactly encouraging with the postseason just over five weeks away.