In the 3rd quarter of Monday’s game, Ben Simmons left the game with a knee injury. Then the roller coaster of emotions started. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that early indication where no swelling or pain in the knee. Then the next day Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted that MRIs on Simmons’s knee were negative and that he suffered a Subluxation of the left patella. In normal human language, his knee cap dislocated and then reset.
Then today’s bombshell hit that Ben Simmons was going to have surgery on his left knee to remove a loose body.
J Blevins of The Painted Lines tweeted out that Arthroscopic surgery is about a 6-week recovery time frame. And the finals are 7 weeks away, so in the small chance, Ben was to play again this season the 76ers would need to make a finals run.
Where do we go from here? When I first started writing, I wrote that the worse player for the 76ers to lose would be Ben Simmons. The team is not equipped to replace him. And I still believe it today, and with the team already underachieving, it doesn’t look like a finals run is in the cards. We just have to make the best of it.
How do we do that? First off lower expectations. Progress isn’t always linear, if they lose in the first round this season it doesn’t mean they will never win the finals. Not many teams can lose one of their best players and still make deep runs. However, that also doesn’t mean this season is a failure. And there can still be positives that come out of the rest of the season. The Sixers are cap-strapped and more than likely outside of a few names and draft picks the team you see now is the team that will be here next season.
The best thing the 76ers can do is get these guys as much exposure and experience as possible. Get the young players like Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shake Milton as much playing time and playoff experience as you can. Obviously, Brett Brown is coaching for his job, and it’s still a team sport, so they aren’t going to try not to win, but personal growth from the young kids on smaller contracts will be huge for the team going forward.
While this season may seem like a lost cause, it doesn’t mean next season is, or that they cannot create stepping stones in the remainder of the season that will help next year. The young kids getting better, and overall continuity of players, plus with the likelihood of a new coaching staff, and a new voice for stars like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons the team could easily be a title contender still next season.
For now, my plan is to enjoy the free basketball, with Covid-19 shutting down the league in March, there was little hope that sports would be back this season, or ever. But they came back, so to me this is free hoops. And we still have Joel Embiid, so sit back, watch some basketball, let the big man dominate, and enjoy it while we can, because as we all know too well now, it can be gone in a second.