Philadelphia 76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons suffered a broken right foot in practice on Friday and the team gave no indication of how long he will be out of action.
After sources confirmed to the Daily News that there was a fracture in the foot, the Sixers said in a statement that Simmons, the No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft, suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot.
Simmons rolled his right ankle during the final scrimmage of the team's training camp at Stockton University.
In the statement, the Sixers said Simmons had an X-ray and MRI of the right foot and ankle. The images were reviewed by Christopher Dodson, the team's head physician, and Jonathan Glashow, the team's chief medical officer and co-chief of sports medicine orthopedics at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Further medical evaluation and treatment options are being considered at this time and additional updates will be provided when appropriate," the statement said.
The Sixers open the preseason against Boston in Amherst on Tuesday. The team opens the regular season at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 26.
The fifth metatarsal is a common place for fractures of the foot, since it is a fragile bone that supports a lot of weight. If the fracture isn’t displaced, recovery could be quicker. A local orthopedist, without knowing the specifics of Simmons’ injury, said recovery time could vary greatly, from six to eight weeks or longer. Surgery could be an option if that would help speed recovery.
Simmons impressed coaches and teammates with his passing skills in both the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues and has worked vigorously on his body to build it to a now-sculpted 250-pounds. During training camp at Stockton, Simmons was equally impressive, according to coaches and players. Coach Brett Brown seemed to have fun using the 6-10 Simmons at almost every position, most notably at point guard.
"He's playing for the first time against men," Brown of Simmons earlier this week, before the injury. "I think where he can control his own destiny the soonest and the easiest, is by locking into defense. He is physically gifted. He's 6-10, 245 pounds with a real bounce to his game. I try to say that and sell that to Ben and he embraces that. We're going to turn him loose in open court. He's going to rebound and lead breaks. We'll give him the ball in some situations."
The excitement surrounding Simmons certainly appeared warranted. The injury puts all of that on hold.
If the fan base, and organization, is running low in patience, it is understandable. Nerlens Noel sat out his first full season while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one knee, though he seemed to think he was able to play towards the end of the sason. Joel Embiid will make his NBA preseason debut on Tuesday after missing the first two seasons of his career due to a foot injury. Jahlil Okafor missed the end the 2015-16 season, his first, because of a knee injury.
Before the extent of Simmons' injury was announced, Brown said at practice Friday that Embiid and Okafor will play in Tuesday's preseason game.