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76ers react to Ben Simmons' injury

Fans of the 76ers have likely learned far more about feet than they've ever needed to or wanted to in the last few years.

Fans of the 76ers have likely learned far more about feet than they've ever needed to or wanted to in the last few years.

After the Sixers first official practice at their new facility in Camden on Sunday, little if anything was confirmed about overall No.1 pick Ben Simmons' broken right foot.

Bryan Colangelo, the team's president of basketball operations, wouldn't specify the type of break that occurred in the fifth metatarsal bone of Simmons' foot during Friday's scrimmage. Colangelo also said surgery on the foot is "likely," but not yet a certainty.

Whatever the course of treatment, coach Brett Brown and a few players expressed sadness, the need to learn from previous mistakes, and the need for other players to seize opportunities.

"There is nobody, sadly, that's had more experience dealing with injured draft picks than we have," Brown said. "So over the course of time, you learn how to best deal with it.

The Inquirer reported Simmons will have surgery next week to repair what's commonly referred to as a Jones fracture.

Joel Embiid, the third overall pick in 2014, missed the first two seasons of his career because of an injury to the navicular bone in his right foot.

The 7-foot, 250-pounder said he felt for Simmons and that what he learned most about his own experience was the need for patience, and following doctors' orders.

"I told him to keep his head up and everything's going to be OK; patience," Embiid said. "And I don't know yet when he's having the surgery, but there's a lot of good doctors around, so I think he's going to be OK."

Embiid's had his own difficulties adjusting to injured life. Brown talked about what he wants to be different this time around.

"There needs to be, there has been, and we'll get better this time, a holistic approach to the person," Brown said. "There needs to be understanding that there's an opportunity to educate (Simmons) in the film room, watching different NBA players and teaching him. There might be an opportunity where we sit him in a chair and remake his shot, rebuild his shot, and really spend time with the fundamentals of his shot."

Brown also said the Sixers new facility - with its kitchen, film room, "hydro-area," etc. - would become a like a "little college for Ben over the next few months, and I know that he is very interested in tapping into those things."

New Sixer Jerryd Bayless began his career in Portland, but spent the last two seasons in Milwaukee, which lost prized draft pick Jabari Parker, the second overall pick in 2014, after a knee injury limited his rookie season to just 25 games.

"It's disappointing right now for (Simmons), obviously," Bayless said. "But at the same time, you can look at it as a blessing in disguise. He gets to watch the game. He gets to see the game close up . . . a lot of guys have gone through it from Jabari to Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers) missed his first year, you can go down the list. But at the same time they get a chance to step back, see the game from a different perspective."

With Simmons unavailable for what could be months, perspectives may also shift for others. Dario Saric is a likely example.

"That's where my head goes to first," Brown said. "Dario will have more opportunities, responsibilities. I think how we rotate this group now will change. We will learn a lot. The preseason's really going to be good for us in that regard."

The preseason begins Tuesday on the road against the Boston Celtics.

Saric, who the Sixers drafted in 2014, has impressed with his shooting ability during training camp. The versatile 6-foot-10 rookie said the floor may open and his minutes may increase without Simmons, but expressed unease with those results coming at the expense of a teammate.

Brown allowed that he and the team felt their own discomfort after hearing the news of the Simmons' injury, but that it's also necessary to move on.

"I mean, how could it not," he said. "I think when you first hear the news, (we'd) all been hit in the stomach, and you lose your wind. Then after a while you get it back and you move on. And I feel, for me, that's where I am, and I have to take this group and make it work. I really believe that (in) this situation somebody's going to emerge, an opportunity's going to unfold, and we're going to see something that we never would have learned about."