Sixers admit Ben Simmons injury healing 'slowly' but expect top pick to play this season
The Sixers expect top pick Ben Simmons to make his debut after the All-Star break. AP

PHILADELPHIA 76ers prized rookie Ben Simmons is nowhere close to making his NBA debut as the recovery from the foot injury he suffered during training camp appears to be behind schedule in light of a new scan done on his injured foot.

League sources told Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey that Simmons' foot injury has not fully healed as shown by a foot scan done on January 23. Simmons had a Jones fracture of the metatarsal on his right foot last September 30, and the scan in January showed an inside portion of the bone has not completely mended.

Sources added that Simmons will visit the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York next week for a second opinion.

Simmons, though, has been involved in limited practice with the 76ers over the past several weeks but has not reached the point where he can play five-on-five scrimmages. But the source noted that the slow recovery of the foot injury is not because of any aggravation from the on-court drills that Simmons has done.

Meanwhile, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo has released a statement regarding Simmons’ injury, saying that the team is cautious and thorough in their approach to bring back Simmons to full health.

“We continue to monitor the recovery of Ben’s injury and are employing a conservative and thoughtful approach to his rehabilitative program, basing his return to full basketball activity on the advice and direction of medical professionals," he said.

"His next CT scan is scheduled for February 23, after which our medical team will thoroughly review and evaluate his status moving forward. Ben’s long-term health remains our primary concern,” Colangelo added.

Despite developments, Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown is optimistic that Simmons can make his anticipated debut after the All-Star break. 

"We do expect him to play this year," Brown told CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato on Thursday (Friday, Manila time). "It is our expectation that he will get on a court. It’s moving slowly. It’s calculated. We’re trying to be very careful."

"I feel like after the All-Star break, when he’s got a chance to begin practicing with us and start playing against actual defensive people and him guarding, then we will better judge on when that time frame is. But I think the path right now is solid,” he added.

Philadelphia took Simmons, a versatile forward from LSU, with the first pick of the 2016 draft as one of the foundations of their rebuilding process. 

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