Sport: Will Ben Simmons play vs. Nets? 76ers star's reported back injury only adds to drama in Philadelphia

Kyrie Irving cleared to practice at Nets facility

  Kyrie Irving cleared to practice at Nets facility Shams Charania:

Welcome to the latest edition of the NBA's hit soap opera, "As the Sixers Turn."

Ben Simmons once again finds himself at the center of controversy after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 76ers star showed up to the team's practice facility on Thursday but didn't go through his scheduled individual workout. He is reportedly dealing with a back issue, though there are questions about the nature of his injury.

Simmons was suspended for Philadelphia's regular-season opener, and now there is doubt as to whether Simmons will play Friday night against Brooklyn. Here are the latest updates on Simmons ahead of the 76ers vs. Nets game.

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Will Ben Simmons play vs. Nets?

During an appearance on "NBA Today," Wojnarowski reported that Simmons arrived at and then left the Sixers' practice facility on Thursday without going through a planned workout. He told members of the team's staff that he was feeling tightness in his back, and after he was treated, he was cleared to participate in the workout. (Philadelphia did not hold a team practice.)

Wojnarowski later reported that Simmons is expected to attend the 76ers' shootaround on Friday morning and discuss his status with the team, though it is unlikely he will play against the Nets. The Athletic's Shams Charania was more definitive in his reporting, tweeting that Simmons will miss Friday's game and is "currently not mentally ready to play for the team."

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Questions surrounding Ben Simmons' back injury

Simmons' back tightness had not been mentioned or treated by the team over the previous week and a half, according to Philly Voice's Kyle Neubeck, who also reported that Simmons returned a clean physical as part of the return-to-play protocol. The back issue was discussed for the first time on Thursday.

It's unclear if the 76ers plan to fine or suspend Simmons if he continues to miss practices and games.

Will the 76ers trade Ben Simmons?

As much as Simmons would like to find his way out of Philly, it's unlikely that he will be moved anytime soon.

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During an interview with 97.6 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Thursday, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey declared that the team will only trade Simmons in exchange for a true difference-maker.

"Right now, any sort of trade, which obviously Ben Simmons wants, the best thing we can do is get role players back. That makes no sense," Morey said. "That will give us no better chance to win the title if we were to move Ben Simmons for role players. So, people should buckle in. This is gonna go a long time because our only task, my only job is to help us have the best chance to win the title.

"Ben Simmons is a difference-maker, so we can get him back. He will help us win the title. If we can trade Ben Simmons for a difference-maker, we will do it. I think that's best for everyone in this situation."

76ers vs. Nets injury report

(The 76ers have not yet submitted their official injury report as of 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.)

Team Player Status Reason
Nets Kyrie Irving Out Not with team

Warriors not giving up young talent for Ben Simmons .
Anthony Slater: There are people within the building that would be intr igued by the idea. There’s definitely a contingent that asks how will that fit with Draymond? Simmons could fit in the Warriors’ read-and-react style, but he’d make the most sense in the Draymond role as the pick-and-roll guy with Curry. What matters most is that the guy up top, Joe Lacob, has literally been fined for giving his opinion about not believing in Simmons’ fit with the Warriors.

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