76ers expect Ben Simmons to play this season, 'just don't know when'

ByJEFF GOODMAN via <a href="http://espn.go.com/" title="ESPN" class="espn_sc_byline">ESPN </a>
February 15, 2017, 4:12 PM

&#151; -- Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said he expects to have rookie and No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons on the court in a game this season.

"Our plan is to still see him on the court, playing games," Brown told ESPN on Wednesday. "We just don't know when.

"I fully expect him to play this season. He thinks that, and he's motivated to play."

Both Brown and Simmons are in favor of the 6-foot-10, 240-pound point guard/forward making his NBA debut this season, sources told ESPN. However, the decision ultimately rests with the Sixers management.

Simmons fractured his foot at the end of September, and the team is being cautious -- especially after dealing with Joel Embiid and his rash of injuries the past couple of years.

Brown told ESPN that Simmons is running, jumping and cutting but hasn't been cleared for contact. Brown has been training Simmons in individual workouts, and the player also has been doing 5-on-0 drills.

Brown reiterated that Simmons won't be doing any 5-on-5 work over the All-Star break, largely because the players are out of town and it would be difficult to simulate.

"I think he looks good -- even though it's 5-on-0," Brown said. "He's got a great spirit, attitude. The plan is to heal him up, treat him with complete care and then deliver him to the court."

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