Three-time All-Star guard Ben Simmons has told the Philadelphia 76ers that he is not mentally ready to play and needs additional time.
Multiple media outlets reported on Friday that Simmons met with head coach Doc Rivers and team medical professionals. He also spoke with All-Star center Joel Embiid and the rest of the team at the training facility in Camden, New Jersey.
Per The Athletic, Simmons “accepted everyone needs to take responsibility, including himself”.
Simmons’ actions on Friday come one day after he reportedly did not participate in a scheduled individual workout at the practice facility. He told officials that he had tightness in his back.
It is not immediately known if Simmons will suit up for the 76ers in their home opener against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.
Simmons, 25, served a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team in Philadelphia’s season-opening 117-97 victory over the host New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. He received the ban for refusing to participate in a practice drill on Tuesday.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey took a strong stance on Thursday afternoon in a Philadelphia radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic.
“People should buckle in,” Morey said. “This is going to go a long time, because my only job is to help give us the best chance to win the title.
“Ben Simmons is a difference-maker, so if we can get him back, he will help us win the title.
“If we can trade Ben Simmons for a difference-maker, we will do it. I think that’s best for everyone in this situation.”
Without Simmons, Tyrese Maxey scored 20 points as the fill-in point guard in the season opener. Embiid and reserve guard Furkan Korkmaz led Philadelphia with 22 points each.
“Our focus was always zeroed into this game, but I think that just comes from a lot of guys having added opportunity here,” said forward Tobias Harris, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds. “And really trying to figure out ways that they can maximize that type (of) opportunity.”
Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 58 games last season. He averaged just 11.9 points in the playoffs while shooting a dismal 34.2 percent from the free-throw line.