By Peter Gleason
The injury the Sixers Ben Simmons suffered yesterday is a partial dislocation of his left kneecap, and we won’t be seeing him playing any time soon.
In medical terms, it’s a subluxation of his left patella, and Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
“This one stings, for sure,” Brown said.
Simmons suffered the injury in the third quarter of the 107-98 victory over the Washington Wizards.
After he grabbed an offensive rebound, he slowly dribbled to the corner in front of the Sixers’ bench and flipped an inlet pass to Al Horford.
Simmons turned, flexed his left leg, touched the back of it and then walked directly off the court and back to the team’s locker room.
He was soon joined there by Sixers general manager Elton Brand, and was shown on television leaving the arena before the game ended in street clothes and walking very, very gingerly.
“I don’t even remember [the injury] happening,” Shake Milton said. “I just remember him walking off to the sidelines. Yeah, it’s tough for us.
“Ben is an incredible player, an incredible athlete. … he’s like a freak. A super human. So, hopefully he’s able to heal super fast and get back out on the court, because we need him.”
Brown said that the Sixers should know within the 24 hours what the next steps for Simmons will be — the team said in its statement that treatment options were being considered.
“Yeah, it’s a little frustrating sometimes,” guard Josh Richardson said of losing Simmons. “But that’s the way the game goes. So, we’re going to just have to have a next man up mentality like we’ve had all year. Guys will pick up the slack, and when we get him back, he’ll fit back in seamlessly.
“Ben is an All-Star, so he’s not going to be easy to replace, but the rest of our team will do as good of a job as we can.”
One immediate adjustment, Brown said, is that Al Horford and Joel Embiid are going to be playing together on a much more regular basis. Brown was asked about whether he would continue to try split the two big men up as much as possible without Simmons, or if he would try to play them together, and Brown said his lean was to play them together.
Regardless, Simmons has already been ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Orlando Magic, and it seems unlikely he will return in the short term. After Simmons suffered a back injury in the first quarter of Philadelphia’s loss in Milwaukee on Feb. 22 — an injury that occurred in an eerily similar manner to this one — it was unclear whether he was going to be available for the playoffs then. He didn’t play again before the season was shut down in March, and both sides have been coy about whether he could have played in the playoffs had the season gone on as scheduled.