Give and Go: Will Ben Simmons Actually Play This Season?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

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In this edition, we discuss whether Ben Simmons will play this season.

Haughton
How many different ways are there to say no?

Let's get right to the biggest reason: Simmons still isn't healthy. Reports surfaced last week that Simmons' surgically-repaired right foot isn't 100 percent healed.

While not necessarily cause for major concern, there's definitely a reason to pause before making any serious attempt to ramp up the rehab for game action.

In addition to the injury itself, is the timeframe of a potential return. Simmons is scheduled to meet with a specialist this week and even if he were declared fully healthy, the Sixers have only 26 games remaining in the regular season. With head coach Brett Brown previously stating that the No. 1 overall pick would need five days of full practice before suiting up -- which almost never happens because of an NBA schedule -- the odds of Simmons' making his debut appear slim.

On top of all that, there is Simmons' camp. Almost immediately after the former LSU star suffered the foot injury, there were reports that agent Rich Paul didn't want him to play this season. Obviously, that's keeping an eye on Simmons' health, but the other eye is certainly on marketing. 

Paul's Klutch Sports Group would prefer a full season of play for Simmons in an attempt for the point-forward to travel to each city in the league, participate in All-Star weekend festivities and have a shot at Rookie of the Year. That may not mean much to the organization or fans, but it means everything to Simmons' camp in terms of maximizing his brand.

Hudrick
Hard to believe we're having this conversation. I wasn't part of the crowd who speculated Simmons would miss his entire rookie season after suffering a Jones fracture, but here we are in late February.

There's definitely still value in Simmons' taking the court in the last 26 games of the season. It gives him the opportunity to develop some chemistry with his teammates -- most notably Joel Embiid. He'll also get his feet wet and build momentum going into next season.

The arguments against him playing are fair. This team isn't making the playoffs and the kid hasn't even practiced 5-on-5 yet. Why not just sit him out and let him win Rookie of the Year next season? With the way Embiid's meniscus injury has been botched by the front office, maybe it would be wise to shut him down.

Even after the injury, I was 99 percent sure he'd play this season. Now? I'm putting it at 75 percent and getting lower every day.

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