MIAMI -- 76ers coach Brett Brown on Friday confirmed that injured rookie star Ben Simmons is expected to return in January. Then he backtracked -- sort of.
The coach mentioned a January return for the 2016 first overall pick while talking about his team overcoming injuries. NBA sources had previously said that Simmons would be out for three months.
"It's not doom and gloom," Brown said during Friday morning's shootaround at American Airlines Arena. "Ben is coming back in January. We are still trying to find information on Jerryd [Bayless]. Jahlil [Okafor] is still trying to touch the court in his first preseason game."
Then, perhaps after talking to team officials, Brown backed off that statement when the Sixers' digital content coordinator asked for an update on Simmons hours after his initial comments appeared on Philly.com.
"I was just getting excited about how soon he might be able to come back," Brown said. "There are so much speculation and dates as a coach you sort of want to hear what you want to hear at a time. I did mention a January hopeful return. That is premature.
"That is a coach doing a lot more wishing than receiving instruction. So we will play this out. Everything is on track with his rehabilitation."
Simmons suffered a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Sept. 30, the final day of training camp. The injury occurred when he came down on Shawn Long's foot during a scrimmage at Stockton University.
Simmons had surgery on Oct. 4 in New York and returned there this week to get his sutures removed.
Bayless is sidelined with ligament damage. The point guard will continue his rehabilitation for the next two weeks before being re-evaluated.
Okafor has right knee soreness following surgery to repair a torn right meniscus in his right knee. He saw his first action of the preseason Friday night.
Dinner for 22
Hours after being on hand for Elton Brand's retirement, the 76ers accompanied him for dinner after arriving in Miami. Twenty-two members of the organization attended.
"To get an entire NBA team under one roof at one dinner table in the city of Miami is an unbelievable effort," Brown said. "I think it's just an incredible reflection of what the team thinks of Elton Brand."