UPDATE: Feb. 25, 5:10 p.m. — Simmons is expected to be re-evaluated in two weeks, per multiple reports from Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.
Ben Simmons will be re-evaluated in 2 weeks for nerve impingement in lower back, but there's little expectation that he'd be ready to return to lineup that soon, sources tell ESPN. Doctors are hopeful treatment can drive improvement, but Sixers are preparing to play without him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 25, 2020
As Woj reports, it looks unlikely Simmons returns to the lineup in that window, so the Sixers could be without their starting point guard for a while. Philly is prepared to play without him, so we can expect a ton of usage for Joel Embiid. The big man is coming of 49 points against the Hawks last game. Not that he’ll continue to do that moving forward, but Embiid gets a major fantasy boost with Simmons sidelined.
As for the rest of the lineup, we should see Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and Shake Milton start moving forward. The Sixers also ran a short rotation with Furkan Korkmaz the only real contributor off the bench. I imagine that can’t continue if Simmons is going to miss this much time. The Sixers will have to spread the love out, so we should see Glenn Robinson and Alec Burks get more minutes.
Philadelphia 76ers G/F Ben Simmons is still getting treatment on his ailing back and the All-Star is expected to miss some time, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday. Woj has reported a few times that Simmons is still going to get treatment and the Sixers are deciding what to do with him. As Woj alludes to, it’s still pretty unclear when Simmons will be able to return to action.
ESPN Sources: Sixers star Ben Simmons is still undergoing treatment and evaluation on his back and there’s expected to be a course of action decided upon soon. This isn’t a day-to-day injury; Simmons will miss time. How much time? That’s still unclear.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 24, 2020
The injury initially popped up when Simmons cited some discomfort in practice after the All-Star Break. He was held out of last Thursday’s game vs. the Brooklyn Nets and returned to action on Saturday vs. the Bucks. Simmons only lasted four minutes before the back started bothering him again. Now, it looks like an extended absence is on the way, which doesn’t bode well for the Sixers, who are in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Fantasy basketball and betting analysis: Ben Simmons injury
Let’s start with the fantasy basketball implications. Right now, the Sixers are down Simmons and Tobias Harris is also banged up. In Saturday’s loss to the Bucks, we saw Shake Milton, Alec Burks and Furkan Korkmaz get the most run off the bench. Korkmaz is a candidate to start for Harris if he’s out and I’d imagine Burks gets into the starting lineup at PG. So my guess is the starting five will be Burks, Josh Richardson, Glenn Robinson III, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. Korkmaz and Milton would be the next men up off the bench. Burks is an interesting waiver wire add if he’s available in your league.
For the betting side, on DraftKings Sportsbook the Sixers have been an appealing bet at +1400 to win the NBA title this season. Their odds to win the Atlantic Division are steep at +100, with the Celtics (+120) and Raptors (-143) ahead of them. If Simmons misses a week or so, sure, the Sixers can maybe get back into things. If Simmons misses more than that, no way. This could hurt Philly’s playoff seeding a bit, but really the Sixers can’t drop below the No. 6 seed in my eyes.
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