Wednesday night marked another first for Ben Simmons.
The 76ers' first overall pick sat on the bench with his teammates for the first time during the 123-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors. This came one day after Simmons wore sneakers on a basketball court, instead of a walking boot, for the first time since he broke his right foot on Sept. 30.
"To bring him out now … to exchange dialogue, conversation with him to say what are you seeing, what do you think, I think it's pretty cool having him out there with his teammates," coach Brett Brown said of Simmons being on the bench. "That will continue."
The 6-foot-10, 250-pounder hadn't been on the bench with teammates because it would have initially required wheeling him out to the court. Brown said he later would have had to drag around the foot that was in the boot.
Simmons had surgery Oct. 4 in New York to repair an acute Jones fracture in the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot. At that time, Simmons was expected to be sidelined for three months, according to a source. Brown said Oct. 21 that he expected the point guard to return in January. The coach backed off that statement hours later.
On Wednesday, Brown appeared delighted to have him finally watch from the bench.
"If you saw him behind closed doors as games are going on, you know watching stuff on a TV …, in a weight room, engaging with teammates, continuing to work out, engaging with teammates at halftime, he's been a part of us," Brown said. "It just hasn't been visual to everybody."