Report: Ben Simmons' foot might not be fully healed, exam next week

Report: Ben Simmons' foot might not be fully healed, exam next week

Updated: February 17, 12:30 a.m. ET

Ben Simmons' fractured foot might not yet be fully healed — but a local orthopaedic specialist explains why it's not a major concern — and Simmons' next CT scan is scheduled for Feb. 23.

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons' previous foot scan on Jan. 23 showed that an inside portion of the bone was not fully healed, which explains why Simmons has yet to make his regular-season debut. 

That's not aligned with the Sixers' update from Jan. 24, which stated Simmons' recovery was progressing on schedule — although the team has neither said the foot is "fully healed" nor given an official timetable for his return. 

ESPN reported last month, citing sources, that the foot had "completely healed."

Later Thursday evening, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo revealed that Simmons will undergo a CT scan next Thursday as part of the following statement:

"We continue to monitor the recovery of Ben's injury and are employing a conservative and thoughtful approach to his rehabilitative program, basing his return to full basketball activity on the advice and direction of medical professionals,” Colangelo said. “His next CT scan is scheduled for Feb. 23, after which our medical team will thoroughly review and evaluate his status moving forward. Ben's long-term health remains our primary concern."

Simmons suffered the injury on Sept. 30 and initially was expected to miss three months. In October head coach Brett Brown said Simmons would return in January before admitting it was premature to do so.

Simmons has yet to be cleared for 5-on-5 practices, but Brown said Wednesday that the Sixers "do expect [Simmons] to play this year." 

"It is our expectation that he will get on a court," Brown said. "It's moving slowly. It's calculated. We're trying to be very careful."

Which is the prudent thing to do. Virtua Health System's Dr. Mark Schwartz said Thursday some Jones fractures heal within three to four months, and others take four to six months. 

"This is the type of injury you don't want to rush along in terms of return to play," Schwartz said on Comcast SportsNet's Philly Sports Talk.

"Sometimes the scans and the X-rays we take of these fractures lag behind what's really going on inside the body. So the fact that the latest scan didn't show complete healing doesn't mean that it's not going to go on to heal completely. It's just taking a little more time to show up. So I'm not overly concerned at 4½ months that it's not completely healed."

There is real value to playing Simmons this season. The Sixers will want to see what he can do within their system. They'll want to see how he fits with Joel Embiid, with Dario Saric, with the other guards before this year's draft and free agency. But the most important thing, obviously, is not rushing Simmons back out there.

A Jones fracture is a break of the fifth metatarsal, the outermost bone in the foot. Think about the outside of your right foot, close to the pinkie toe. When one is recovering from a Jones fracture, he/she is typically advised not to wiggle the foot or make a circular motion with it. 

Oftentimes a screw is inserted into the foot to fuse the broken bone back to where it should be. On rare occasions, the screw can become dislodged and cause problems. It happened to Julio Jones in 2013.

Full disclosure, I suffered a Jones fracture in my left foot on Nov. 28. Today, Feb. 16, was my first day back in a sneaker. I was told by a well-known foot surgeon that it will take a calendar year until I return to my previous level. Obviously, I'm not a world-class athlete, but I also didn't have as much rehab and care at my disposal as Simmons. 

The point is, the healing process with a Jones fracture is very slow. And running full-speed up and down an NBA court is much different than simply being able to walk normally again after rehab. Plus, the non-use of the foot — you're non-weight-bearing for about three months — leads to other things, like the decrease of muscle in the calf and quad of the affected leg.

Simmons and the Sixers will know more next week.

CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato contributed to this report.

Now with Thunder, Jerami Grant still considers Sixers family

Now with Thunder, Jerami Grant still considers Sixers family

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jerami Grant was the first familiar face to be traded in a season that has seen Nerlens Noel and Hollis Thompson exit town as well.

The Sixers dealt Grant to the Thunder on Nov. 1 in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected draft pick. The Thunder had already played the Sixers on opening night in Philadelphia, and nearly five months passed before Grant faced his former (and only other) team.

"It's still family, everybody in the organization," Grant said. "They're doing well, they're playing a lot better, so I'm happy for them."

Grant's life was thrown into a tailspin when he was traded. In a flash, he had to leave the city he had called home since 2014. So quickly, in fact, his family had to move out of his home in Philadelphia for him.

"I had to pack my bags and things in two hours," Grant recalled. "I had to get a physical so I could play the next day in L.A. At first it was a little shock, but once you settle down, it's OK."

Grant quickly found a role with his athleticism. He averaged 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 21.2 minutes before the All-Star break. The reunion with childhood best friend Victor Oladipo was an added bonus to the adjustment period.

"I settled in well," Grant said. "I think everybody did a great job of just bringing me in. I think the fans have done a great job of embracing me. Whenever I get on the court, they give me a standing ovation, so that's great. My teammates are great, too."

Grant's playing time waned when the Thunder acquired Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Bulls. Grant is averaging 3.4 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.2 blocks in 12.3 minutes since the break. He continues to stay focused on improving his three-point shot every day in practice, which was a focal point with the Sixers.

Grant played 11 minutes against the Sixers and scored three points (a trey, nonetheless), along with three rebounds and two assists (see game recap). Brett Brown has seen Grant play enough games to believe in spite of his lessened role on the Thunder, he will have a place in the league for years to come.

"He lives right, he's prideful, he wants to be good," Brown said. "He's athletic enough to feel like there's potential there. He's a wonderful person and a great teammate. There's a cleanliness, there's a wholesomeness to Jerami Grant along with pedigree, his family tree ... that makes him for sure to me an NBA longtime player."

Sixers pounded in 'bar fight' by Russell Westbrook, bruising Thunder

Sixers pounded in 'bar fight' by Russell Westbrook, bruising Thunder

BOX SCORE

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Sixers prepared for a basketball game against the Thunder. They got a lot more than that on Wednesday.

"I can say it was like a bar fight but they were the only guys in that bar who really destroyed us," Dario Saric said. 

The Thunder steamrolled the Sixers, 122-97 (see Instant Replay). Oklahoma City shot 54.5 percent, outrebounded the Sixers 54 to a season-low 25, and scored a massive 76 points in the paint. That's without getting into Russell Westbrook's 18-point, 14-assist, 11-rebound triple-double (notched in three quarters) and Enes Kanter's 24-point, 11-rebound double-double (see feature highlight).

All that amounts to ...

"Today, they just simply killed us," Saric said. 

Westbrook led the charge with his 35th triple-double of the season. He is now six from tying Oscar Robertson for most in a single season (41) and also six from tying Wilt Chamberlain for most all-time in the NBA (78). 

Westbrook accomplished his feat while taking just six shots (6 for 6 from the field and 6 for 6 from the free throw line). Per Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player to record a triple-double while being perfect from the field and the charity stripe.

"He averages a triple-double for Christ's sake, so it's tough for us to stop him," T.J. McConnell said. 

This game was live demonstration of natural-born intensity that comes from within and cannot be taught in film sessions or drills. The Thunder rode the momentum of MVP-candidate Westbrook's triple-double and it spilled over to the entire team.

Kanter posted his double-double in just 20 minutes off the bench. Four Thunder players scored in double digits while the reserves combined for 63 points. Top to bottom, every player on the active roster fought.

"We have to have that killer instinct," Westbrook said. "We have to be able to come out when you're up 12 or 14 and be able to push it to 20 to 22, especially at home. To be a good team, you need to be able to do this consistently." 

Everyone that steps on the court against the Thunder, whether a lottery-bound team or a title contender, represents an opponent standing in the way of their postseason aspirations as they hold down the sixth spot in the Western Conference. The Thunder's motivation was clear with less than a month left in the regular season.

"It's a fantastic example for our young guys on the physicality of playoff-type teams," Brett Brown said. "That side of it stood out to me more than it has in a long time. You look at (Steven) Adams and you look at Kanter and you look at Taj Gibson and you look at the discrepancy on the boards, the rebounding differential, and it felt that. It's just a reminder, if you want to play late in April and May, maybe June one day, that's the physicality the playoffs bring."

For the Thunder, this is one win closer to the postseason. For the Sixers, it is an example of grit they can follow to improve, and how many steps they have to take to get there.

"They are a good team, playoff team. We need to get a lot of experience from this," Saric said. "They are really tough, big, strong, and they have Russell, who will probably be MVP of the league. Then you put everything in one team, it's maybe too big for us in this moment."