Rivers: No timeline for Simmons' return after 1st practice Sunday
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is hesitant to say when Ben Simmons will return to the lineup after the three-time All-Star participated in team activities Sunday for the first time following an offseason holdout.
"I don't know yet. I'm going to wait and see," Rivers said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey.
Rivers continued: "I thought he was in decent shape. Still not obviously game shape."
Simmons reportedly vowed to never play for the Sixers again following their Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He refused contact from teammates and the organization before ending his holdout Oct. 11 when he appeared at the Wells Fargo Center to receive a mandatory COVID-19 test.
Philadelphia opens the 2021-22 regular season Oct. 20 on the road versus the New Orleans Pelicans. Rivers admits he hasn't considered whether Simmons will make his first appearance of the campaign on the road or in front of the team's notoriously spirited fans.
"I'm just trying to get him back comfortable and integrated," Rivers said. "I'm not even thinking about that. That'll come at some point. But there's no game plan there, I can tell you that. When he's ready, he'll play."
Rivers added the team didn't make a big deal of Simmons' return, saying, "We just introduced (him) like we always do when a new guy comes back, or the old guys come back. We jokingly did it."
Simmons didn't speak to the media following Sunday's practice, though Sixers teammate Furkan Korkmaz sounds happy to have the two-time All-NBA Defensive first-team selection back.
"Personally, I missed him," Korkmaz said. "To be on the same floor with him again ... I'm happy to see him back here on the court, and I hope we have more work to do."