The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Ben Simmons for at least one game.
The Sixers star point guard suffered a Grade 1 AC joint sprain in his right shoulder in a 106-104 loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday and will not play against the Denver Nuggets on Friday. According to the team, he will be reevaluated over the weekend.
Since missing his entire first season with a foot injury, Simmons has been one of the healthiest players in the league. He played 81 games his “rookie” season and then 79 a year ago.
Simmons is averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists this season and leads the league with 3.33 steals per game. He had just 2 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists before exiting against the Jazz.
Josh Richardson Steps in for Sixers at Point
Newcomer Josh Richardson tried to fill the void when Simmons left against the Jazz and did a solid job. He notched 24 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, but the team came up just short.
“He’s trying to do the right thing, play point guard, then play two, then guard the opponent’s best players — there’s a lot on his plate,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “I think that the spirit of how he plays, I very much appreciate and respect.”
Richardson credited his teammates for helping him make the move to being the team’s primary ball-handler.
“The guys did a good job of making me feel comfortable, and moving the ball. I was just taking my shots,” Richardson said.
Raul Neto and Furkan Korkmaz also saw some increased run due to the injury. Neto played a season-high 30 minutes in his return to Utah — where he played his first four NBA season — and Korkmaz played 25.
Neto had 11 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals, finishing a plus-9 in the game. Korkmaz nailed a pair of 3-point attempts, finishing with 6 points. He’s shooting 41% from deep this season, including his wild 3-pointer to win the game against Portland earlier this month.
Much was made about the play of backup guard Trey Burke in the preseason and through training camp, but he’s not seen the floor this season. He’s averaged a shade over 23 minutes and 10.9 points in his career.
Joel Embiid Shines in Return From Suspension
While Simmons injury was bad news, Joel Embiid finished with 27 points and a season-best 16 rebounds in the loss to the Jazz.
Embiid was sidelined due to his scrap and then social media sparring session with Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns.
“I ain’t going to take nothing,” Towns said when asked about the fight this week. “That’s a very … talented player. I just had to defend myself in that situation.”
Embiid gets another matchup with one of the NBA’s premier big men on Friday in Denver against Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets star played down the individual matchup.
“I don’t have the real reason (for strong games against them),” Jokic told the Denver Post. “I don’t go up (against) anybody. I’m just playing basketball.”
Source: New feed