Evaluating Ben Simmons’ Injury and Recovery Time

Jul 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) protects the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) protects the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Chicago Bulls at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Evaluating the type of foot injury Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons has and how many games he could miss because of it.

News of Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons suffering a foot fracture on September 30th was heart breaking for the 76ers. Not only will this injury keep Simmons from playing in the Sixers’ October 26 season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it might keep Simmons from playing any games this season.

While Simmons missing the entire 2016-17 season might be closer to a worst case scenario than a likely scenario, based on this report by Jeff Goodman that says Simmons could take three to four months to recover, researching other players that suffered the same injury suggests that the tweet below might be more of a realistic possibility than Sixers’ fans would be comfortable with.

Before going deeper into my new role as an Internet doctor, I recommend everyone listen to this around 13 minute podcast of The Sixers Beat that features a detail discussion about Simmons’ 5th metatarsal injury with orthopedic surgeon Daniel Cuttica.

"“The metatarsals are the long bones of the foot that bridge the bones of the midfoot to the bones of the toe. The fifth metatarsal is located on the outside of the foot and serves as an attachment site for several muscles. These muscles make the bone susceptible to fractures when the ankle is forced inward like when making a hard cut or landing on the foot of an opponent.”"

The previous quote is from this Jeff Stotts article explaining Kevin Durant‘s 5th metatarsal fracture, or Jones fracture as it’s often called, which he suffered during the 2014 offseason. Scotts’ article explains the difference between between an acute injury (an injury that comes from one instant movement or hit) and a stress fracture (an injury that gets worse over time due a player’s lack of rest or a physical issue that has little to do with one hit or movement) and gives several examples of players that suffered the same injury as Simmons with how many games they missed due to the injury.

More from Sixers News

Professional athletes fracturing their 5th metatarsal is not unusual. On September 27, three days before Simmons fractured his 5th metatarsal in practice, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s backup point guard Cameron Payne suffered the same injury as Simmons during an open scrimmage.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones suffered this injury in 2011 and 2013. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered this injury in the first of week of the 2015-16 NFL season. Jones was supposed to able to play four to six weeks after his surgery and did manage to return to the Cowboys after missing only five games, but he was nowhere near as effective as he was before the injury and re-injuried his 5th metatarsal later that season.

Since the Sixers were never expected to be competing for a playoff spot this season, Simmons should be allowed to take his time recovering, to avoid re-injuring himself like Bryant.

The above tweet confirms Simmons had surgery on October 4, 2016. Lets assume it will only take Simmons three months or 90 days to recover. 91 days after Simmons’ surgery would be January 3, 2017. The Sixers have a home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on that date and Simmons’ first game could be against the top pick of the 2014 NBA draft Andrew Wiggins and the top pick of the 2015 Karl-Anthony Towns.

Must Read: Top 30 All Time Sixers Scorers

Simmons would have missed 33 out of 82 games and the Sixers would have played 16 games against teams that ended the 2015-16 season with more wins than losses without him in this scenario. Looking at the Sixers’ schedule, they will be lucky to go 7-26 over that 33 game time period. If the Sixers don’t win their third game of the season at home against the Orlando Magic, they could easily go on a losing streak that could last over ten games.

Next: Simmons is at a Huge Disadvantage for ROY

While Simmons’ injury likely kills any chance the Sixers had of starting the season with several wins and it’s possible he doesn’t play a game this season, every player, with the exception of recently injured Payne, previously mentioned in this article made full recoveries from fracturing their 5th metatarsal and Simmons should still have the ability to become the Hall of Fame level player the Sixers believe they drafted.