Healthy Simmons Ready to Return
Ben Simmons is ready for action - on and off the court.
Sidelined with a back injury prior to the hiatus, the extended time away has given the All-Star an opportunity not just to come back, but to come back even stronger.
“I’m feeling better than I was when I started the season,” Simmons said Thursday on a Zoom call with reporters. “I’ve been working since I had the injury until now to be prepared for whatever happens, wherever we go. I’m feeling great.”
Simmons’ road to recovery started before the hiatus began, and even when the season was put on hold, his health and development remained a daily commitment.
“As soon as I got my all clear to go ahead and start my rehab, that’s what I was doing," said Simmons. "It was basically every day, not knowing when the season was going to start back up. In my head, just taking it day by day, sticking to the schedule, and doing what I could to get back out there."
From his initial rehab to his current individual workouts in Camden, Simmons has welcomed the opportunity to focus on his body and build extra muscle during the hiatus. He’s noticed positive results.
“It’s hard to keep that size on during the season, so this was a resetting point," Simmons said. "I was able to get pilates in almost every day, lifting weights, taking care of my body, and getting back to 100%.
“[I feel] more explosive, definitely, but just more controlled. I feel a lot more controlled when I’m out there on the floor. I know what I’m capable of with my body. It just feels very good.”
As for the season restart in Orlando, Simmons’ mindset is simple:
He’s all in.
“I want to get out there and play. I feel like it’s my responsibility to go down there and represent Philadelphia in the highest way I can possible. If we’re safe down there, I trust in what the NBA is doing. They’re taking extreme precautions with this, so I feel like if we’re all going, I’m in. I’m all in with my team.”
After the Sixers set lofty goals in the preseason, Simmons says the team’s championship aspirations are still very much alive.
“We’ve beat the best teams in the league, so we’re ready to compete. We’re a young, healthy team, so we’re looking forward to grabbing this opportunity, and going all the way. We know what we’re capable of.”
For as much as Simmons has been devoted to improving himself on the floor the past four months, he's channeled a similar level of commitment during this same period to bettering the world.
In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Simmons launched the Philly Pledge.
Following the May 25 murder of George Floyd, he's been outspoken against racial injustice.
“Seeing somebody like the incident with George Floyd, and so many other people, it’s not fair."
The 23-year old added that he’ll continue his effort to influence positive change and promote equality in his home country of Australia.
"I believe in equality. I think at the end of the day, everybody deserves the same opportunities."