A nerve impingement — what is commonly referred to as a pinched nerve — can linger for a long, long time. The injury is exactly what it sounds like: Something is pressing on the nerve, “pinching” it and causing pain. The challenge becomes figuring out what is pinching the nerve and how do you fix it.
That takes time. It’s also the injury Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons is battling. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said Simmons would be out “a while.”
The Sixers hope “a while” ends before the playoffs start.
Simmons will be reevaluated next week as the Sixers wait for the inflammation around the nerve to subside. The team hopes he can return before the playoffs, sources say, and with enough time to get back into shape.
But, at this point, that is just a hope.
Simmons averages 16.9 points, 8.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds a game, not to mention a league-best 2.2 steals a night. The All-Star is a core part of the Sixers rotation.
Philadelphia is also without Joel Embiid due to a shoulder injury, but he could return as soon as next week.
The Sixers have disappointed this season compared to preseason expectations, when they were considered a threat to the Bucks at the top. Instead, today they sit tied with Indiana for the 5/6 seeds, two games back of Miami as the four seed (and having home court in the first round). It’s not how coach Brett Brown or anyone in Philly pictured this season going.
But if they don’t get Simmons back for the playoffs, things are going to get a lot more disappointing.