No, Ben Simmons Wasn’t Faking an Injury


There has been a lot of speculation regarding three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. After finally being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Brooklyn Nets, many wondered if the “injuries” that Simmons cited as the reason for not playing for the 76ers would go away. However, they didn’t, as even though it’s nearly been a month since Simmons was traded, he hasn’t played a game for the 76ers. Here are three reasons that show Simmons wasn’t faking his injuries.

 

#1: A History of Back Issues

Credit to Michelle Farsi of Getty Images for Picture

Injuries aren’t new for Simmons. When Simmons was drafted 1st overall by the 76ers in 2016, he missed his entire rookie season due to a foot injury. Throughout his first few years in the league, Simmons had issues with his back, the first showing up in October of 2018. In February of 2020, Simmons would miss a few more games due to back issues. The most infamous of these back issues came in the 2021 playoffs, where Simmons played arguably his worst professional basketball. At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Simmons cited back issues and mental health as reasons that he wasn’t playing for the 76ers, and while some people agreed with him, others thought he was taking the cowards way out so he wouldn’t have to face the fans.

Even on the Nets, the team that Simmons’ agent pegged as the best possible trade destination for him, Simmons still hasn’t played due to his back problems, and sources throughout the Nets’ organization are confirming this. On The Mike Missanelli Show, it was revealed that an anonymous source “close” to the Nets said Simmons isn’t faking his back injury.

Apparently, in a recent photoshoot for the Nets, Simmons was asked to dunk; he refused, citing his back as the reason. Head Coach Steve Nash also confirmed that Simmons’ back injury is real, also adding that since he hasn’t played NBA basketball in nearly a year, he might not be in game shape. “He’s not ready for even one-on-one, let alone three-on-three, five-on-five,” said Nash. “So he’s got to get to a place where he can go full speed unopposed, one-on-oh, and then we’ll talk about and hopefully quickly he can go one-on-one, three-on-three, five-on-five.”

For me, this is enough proof from a variety of people that shows Simmons isn’t faking the injury.

 

#2: Mental Health

Credit to Jesse D. Garrabrant of Getty Images for Picture

While mental health is a serious issue, players in the NBA hadn’t been speaking up about their mental health issues… until DeMar DeRozan came along. Soon after, different players came out and spoke about their mental health issues, such as Kevin Love, Stephon Marbury (who admitted he had suicidal thoughts towards the end of his career in 2015), Paul George, Blake Griffin, Justise Winslow, Kelly Oubre Jr, Markelle Fultz, Keyon Dooling, Paul Pierce, Jay Williams, and many more.

Now, let me ask you a hypothetical question: If a city of 1.5 million people hated your guts because you couldn’t throw a ball through a hoop from 15 feet out, how would your mental health be? If every-time you went out in public you were booed and defamed, would you be ok?

For 99.9% of everyone, the answer would be no. Even if you are extremely mentally tough, it would take its toll after a while. Just look at this tweet:

There were times in the playoffs where you could see the weight Simmons carried on his shoulders, as players on the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks fouled him like he was Shaquille O’Neal. I don’t doubt that Simmons has mental health issues, and I hope that he does whatever needs to be done for him to be ok. Some things are bigger than basketball.

 

#3: Simmons came on March 10th to the 76ers-Nets Game

Credit to Eric Hartline of USA Today Sports for Picture

Aside from what I’ve listed above, this seems the most clear indication that Simmons wasn’t faking an injury. The second Simmons was traded from the 76ers to the Nets, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic sent out this tweet on February 10th:

The reason Nurkic tweeted this was because March 10th was the day that the 76ers and Nets would play each other for the first time after the James Harden-Simmons swap. Simmons had not been playing for the 76ers, and people figured that one of two things would happen:

  1. Simmons would suddenly become healthy, and start playing for the Nets immediately
  2. Simmons would skip this game on purpose so he didn’t have to feel the wrath of the Philly fans

What actually happened was something in between the two. Simmons didn’t suddenly heal, which proves to me that he was not faking his injuries. However, while many may have expected Simmons to not play, he came on the road to Philadelphia and dealt with all the boos in order to support his teammates. To me, getting it over with was the best thing Simmons could have possibly done. Plus, it shows that he’s getting tougher, and not showing externally how much he cares about what others think of him. If I was Nash, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Simmons.

“I think all of us were {playing for Simmons}. We look at Ben as our brother, so we knew that this was a hostile environment and we knew that he didn’t have the opportunity to play and we wanted to come out there and have [the fans] focus on the court, more so than always focusing on him. So they focused on the court tonight, and it’s hard for you to chant at Ben Simmons when you’re losing by that much.”

 

Kevin Durant on March 10th

“I think playing for Ben and the night meaning something to Ben and not only Ben, but ‘Dre, Seth. When you get traded in this league, it’s not easy to deal with. And you pick up your stuff that you’ve made a home out of; you’re in one city and then you have to transfer to another city, it’s not always easy, so we’ve tried to welcome him in with open arms.

“So when we played tonight, we definitely felt like Ben was in our hearts. You could see it, he was wearing it, and we just wanted to go out there and play for him and play well. … If you come at Ben, you come at us. You come at anyone else on our team, you come at all of us, and that’s the mentality.”

Kyrie Irving on March 10th

 

Soon I’m going to make an entire timeline of the Ben Simmons saga; from the 2021 playoffs until he got traded. Make sure to be on the lookout for that, and don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog as we start to ramp it up in March. And as always, have an awesome day!

 

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