Ben Simmons won’t be playing in the Sixers’ home opener on Friday against the Nets.
Simmons was thrown out of practice on Tuesday and suspended for their first game against New Orleans when he reportedly refused to participate in a drill.
Simmons didn’t take part in a scheduled individual workout on Thursday, according to ESPN.com. Multiple reports stated that Simmons is complaining of back issues and got treated for it on Thursday.
The Athletic reported that Simmons “is not mentally ready to play for the team,” he will not play in Friday’s home opener against the Nets and it is unclear when he will suit up for the 76ers. ESPN added that Simmons is expected to meet with team brass early Friday “to discuss his playing status.”
These back issues, of course, come in the midst of a firestorm, as Simmons tries to force his way out of Philadelphia. The hate toward the point forward, who disappeared in the Sixers’ playoff loss to Atlanta last summer, is reaching a boiling point in the city. Eagles center Jason Kelce even touched on it on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of people who say it’s a hard place to play. I think it’s pretty f–king easy, to be honest with you,” Kelce told reporters. “You just go out there and play hard. You want to be loved in this city as a baseball player? Run to first base. They’re gonna f–king love you. I mean, that’s what it comes down to.
“If you go up there and make a bunch of excuses, if you come up here and try to lie to them and act like they don’t know what they’re talking about — which, sometimes they don’t — when you act that way or when you aren’t accountable if you’re making mistakes, or when you’re not getting better or anything like that, they’re going to crush you.”
Simmons seems to be falling into that trap, this supposed back tightness being the latest episode.