The Philadelphia 76ers announced Tuesday that No. 1 overall pick and forward Ben Simmons underwent successful surgery on his injured right foot. The club, however, did not provide an updated timetable for his NBA debut.
Simmons rolled his ankle and suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his right foot, often times called a Jones fracture, during a practice on Saturday. Jones fractures have relatively higher chances to reoccur and have complications than other foot injuries.
The team said the surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley, a specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and that a team doctor assisted in the procedure.
"Our sports performance and medical staff was debriefed by Dr. O'Malley following the procedure, and we were encouraged by the positive feedback," Sixers Director of Performance Research and Development Dr. David T. Martin said in the statement. "Moving forward, a comprehensive return to court program will be implemented for Ben, and we will closely monitor his progress throughout the rehabilitation process."
The Sixers did not say how long Simmons will have to rehab following the injury. Other NBA players, like All-Star Kevin Durant, have dealt with and recovered from the same injury before. But in Durant’s case, he played in only 27 games in the 2014-15 NBA season.
An unsubstantiated rumor popped up Monday regarding when Simmons would return. A reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News told local radio station 97.5 The Fanatic that a source told him Simmons’ agent Rich Paul, friend and business partner to LeBron James, wouldn’t let his client play at all this coming season.
When reports first surfaced of the injury, the Sixers and their fans were afraid of a repeat of center Joel Embiid, who was Philadelphia’s No. 3 overall selection in 2014 but has yet to make his debut due to various injuries to his foot. Embiid is expected to play in Philadelphia’s first preseason game Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.
Simmons, considered one of the best prospects to come out of college in years, became a sensation during his one college season at LSU after growing up and playing in Australia.
The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals over 33 games with the Tigers last season.
Simmons, along with big men Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor, was drafted amid expectations that Philadelphia would climb out of the NBA’s cellar. The Sixers haven’t posted a record better than .500 since the 2004-05 season.