CAMDEN, N.J. — 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.
Simmons has not played this season after suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot on the final day of training camp. There still is no official timetable for his NBA debut.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers and their rivals in the NBA from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“He walked out on the court in sneakers and he shot free throws,” 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 remains limited with his on-the-court activity.
“He’s still doing some spot shooting,” Brown said. “But as far as moving around, that has not happened yet.”
The Sixers have been emphasizing the educational aspect of basketball during his rehab. Brown plans to utilize the 6-foot-10 Simmons at point guard, and they have been studying game film heavily on that position. On Tuesday, Brown gave Simmons what he called his “first test.” Brown presented different in-game scenarios and tasked Simmons with breaking down how he would manage each of them at the one spot.
“I can only speak from a non-medical standpoint and just his coach,” Brown said. "The evolution that he and I have been able to have in a classroom and on a court and talking things through over the past few months is fantastic.”
While Brown stressed the Sixers are going to be “extremely careful with how his progression into the team goes,” he is optimistic about Simmons’ recovery.
“He’s coming along in leaps and bounds,” Brown said. “It’s all heading in a positive way.”