Ben Simmons, who missed the Sixers’ 112-104 overtime win on Thursday with lower-back tightness, will be listed as probable for Saturday’s game in Milwaukee against the Bucks.
Simmons went through an individualized workout on Friday, according to a team official.
Coach Brett Brown, who doesn’t talk too much about injuries, did reply when it was suggested things are looking up for Simmons.
“It seems so; there is nothing definitive yet, obviously, but it does seem so,” Brown said after the team went through a film session and walk-through at their Camden practice facility on Friday before preparing to depart for Milwaukee
Simmons suffered the injury during practice on Wednesday.
“It was a play where he went up for a rebound and I looked over and he left the court and went and got treatment,” Brown said.
Thursday was the third game of the season he has missed. In November, Simmons was sidelined for two games with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.
Simmons is averaging 16.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, an NBA fifth-best 8.3 assists, 3.6 turnovers, and a league-leading 2.2 steals a game.
Simmons, who is playing 36.3 minutes per game, has averaged a triple-double against the Bucks in the two games -- 13.0 points, 11.5 assists, and 10.5 rebounds along with 3.0 turnovers in nearly 40 minutes per game while shooting 75% (12-for-16).
In nine career games against the Bucks, Simmons is averaging 11.3 points, 10.2 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 turnovers.
To fill the void against Brooklyn, the Sixers, at different times, had Raul Neto, Josh Richardson, and Shake Milton play the point, Brown even had Alec Burks, who scored 19 points off the bench, act as a primary ball handler on a few possessions.
The Sixers (35-21) have 26 games left and one of Brown’s decisions will be how to man the point guard position when Simmons isn’t in the game.
“It’s clear that even without Ben, you’re going to have to make a decision on the backup position,” Brown said.
A much bigger problem than deciding on who will play backup point guard minutes is the Sixers’ solving their confounding problems on the road.
They are an NBA-best 26-2 at home but just 9-19 on the road. The Sixers have lost five in a row on the road.
Attempting to cure the road woes at Milwaukee isn’t the easiest of tasks. The Bucks (47-8) own the NBA’s best record and have the second best home mark (25-3).
“What better to play the top team in the East at their place," said Tobias Harris after Thursday’s win. "We have had good games with them two games.”
Facing reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is having an even better season this year, serves as some extra motivation, according to Joel Embiid. Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.0 points in just 30.9 minutes per game.