Simmons Still Sidelined: What’s the Real Cause?


Estes, Chelsea

Fans are starting to question why they haven’t seen him on the court.

Cade Counsell '23, Cub News Contributor

Three time all-star and former 76er, Ben Simmons, has not played a single NBA game since the 76er’s second round playoff loss in 2021. While on the 76er’s, Simmons had claimed that he was mentally unready to participate in any team activity, which harmed the relationship between his teammates and himself. Simmons had continuously struggled with mental health issues during his time on the 76er’s. Before this year’s NBA trade deadline, Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets for superstar shooting guard, James Harden. Since being traded, Simmons still has not seen the court due to an alleged back injury. His timetable has been adjusted for him to possibly play a couple regular season games before playoffs, but not guaranteed. Because of his continued absence, Ben Simmons has many NBA fanatics like myself asking the question, “is it really back soreness or still mental health?” 

There are two possible explanations to this situation. First, Simmons could actually be dealing with back soreness. If this is so, he will continue to miss time until he feels ready to participate, even if it means missing time early in the playoffs. NBA fans will just have to be patient for his debut with his new team.

The second scenario is that Simmons could still be struggling with mental health issues. The Nets played and defeated the newly reformed 76er’s in Philadelphia on March 10. Many were wondering if Simmons was sitting out for the matchup out of fear of playing his ex-teammates and receiving negative fan reactions. The matchup could have been anxiety-inducing, causing Simmons to be mentally unready. If this is the case, the NBA, as well as fans, should reserve criticism. Mental health has increasingly become a major issue in the past few years. Other NBA players, such as DeMar Derozan and Kevin Love, have spoken out about their own personal mental health problems, increasing mental health awareness in sports. Mental health is important and needs to be taken care of, even if it means Simmons’ inactivity and absence will be prolonged.

NBA fans will have to continue questioning Simmons’ return, and there is a serious chance that he will not be available until early to late playoffs.