The 76ers not only will be trying to cure their road woes but also will be competing in the immediate future without Ben Simmons. The Sixers announced Tuesday that he has suffered a nerve impingement in his lower back and will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks.
The Sixers are 9-20 on the road. They will play five of their six games away from the Wells Fargo Center over the next two weeks.
They’ve proven they can win at home, going 27-2 both with and without key players. Now, the Sixers look to improve their confounding road record, and will have to do it without their two-time All-Star point guard.
You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @SJnard. Thank you for reading.
— Marc Narducci (email@example.com)
Since missing his first season in 2016-17 with a Jones fracture in his right foot, Simmons has been remarkably durable. He has missed eight games since then, half of them this seaon. He missed two games earlier this year with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.
The Sixers have weathered the storm without Simmons in the lineup. Here is a look at the games he has missed:
Nov. 8, 2019: 100-97 loss at Denver. The Sixers lost despite shooting 13-26 from three-point range.
Nov. 10, 2019: 114-106 win vs. Charlotte. Furkan Korkmaz came off bench to score 17 points.
Feb. 20, 2020: 112-104 OT win vs. Brooklyn. Joel Embiid had 39 points, 16 rebounds.
Feb. 24, 2020: 129-112 win vs. Atlanta. Embiid scored a career-high 49 points and added 14 rebounds.
Oct. 23, 2018: 133-132 OT loss at Detroit. Blake Griffin went for 50 to lead the Pistons.
Mar. 25, 2019: 119-98 loss at Orlando. Former Sixers center Nikola Vucovic led the Magic with 28 points.
Apr. 10, 2019: 125-109 win vs. Chicago. This was a meaningless final game of the season in which all the Sixers starters rested.
Nov. 25, 2017: 130-111 win vs. Orlando. JJ Redick had a game-high 29 points for the Sixers.
The Sixers are 3-1 this season without Simmons, and 5-3 in his career, It’s not a very big sample size. Also not included was Saturday’s loss in Milwaukee. The Sixers were trailing, 14-7, when Simmons went out for good.
While Simmons is averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds, he will likely be missed the most on defense. Coach Brett Brown has been touting Simmons not only as a first-team all-defensive selection but a defensive-player-of-the-year candidate.
With 49 points and 14 rebounds in Monday’s win, Embiid has had at least 40 points and 10 rebounds seven times in his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Embiid is tied for fourth in franchise history in most 40-10 games.
Here are the leaders:
1. Wilt Chamberlain (31)
2. Charles Barkley (13)
3. Billy Cunningham (10)
4. Dolph Schayes and Embiid (7 each)
Here are Embiid’s seven 40-10 games:
Feb. 24, 2020: 49 and 14 in a 129-112 win vs. Atlanta
March 17, 2019: 40 and 15 in a 130-125 win at Milwaukee
Jan. 2, 2019: 42 and 18 in a 132-127 win at Phoenix
Dec. 14, 2018: 40 and 21 in a 113-101 loss vs. Indiana
Nov. 9, 2018: 42 and 18 in a 133-132 OT win vs. Charlotte
Nov. 1, 2018: 41 and 13 in a 122-113 win over the LA Clippers
Nov. 15, 2017: 46 and 15 in a 115-109 win at the LA Lakers.
Today: Sixers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m. NBC Sports Philadelphia
Tomorrow: New York Knicks at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Sunday: Sixers at Los Angeles Clippers, 3:30 p.m. ABC
Tuesday: Sixers at Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m. TNT
March 5: Sixers at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m. NBC Philadelphia Sports Plus
Question/comment: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Simmons done for the season with his back needing surgery. It would also hurt trading him during the offseason if that’s what the front office wants to do. Stay tuned. — Art Brown, @artaxxx1 on Twitter.
Answer: Thanks for the comment, Art. Since I don’t have a medical degree, I will pass on whether Simmons will return, but where I disagree is that I don’t think the Sixers ever thought of trading Simmons anyway. I also don’t think they are trading Embiid, as there is a lot of speculation that they may deal one or the other. I think they are going to ride it out with these two young All-Stars.