Ben Simmons has been cleared to line-up for the Philadelphia 76ers' in this month's NBA restart. Image by AP PHOTO

NBA

Simmons, Broekhoff set for NBA restart

2020-07-02 07:19:16

Ben Simmons is “good to go” after overcoming his back injury while Ryan Broekhoff revealed he had to make a tough family choice to join the Philadelphia 76ers for their NBA title run.

Coach Brett Brown confirmed on Wednesday that every member of his squad heading to Orlando next week for the resumption of the NBA season had passed COVID-19 tests.

Simmons pinched a nerve in his back before the season was suspended on March 11 and Brown said the lengthy season break caused by the pandemic enabled the Australian to reclaim his health.

“He’s good to go,” Brown told reporters. 

“He’s put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to confidently say that.”

Brown revealed he was surprised new Australian recruit Broekhoff decided to join the 76ers after he told the three-point specialist in a frank phone call last week court time might be limited with Matisse Thybulle, Glenn Robinson, Furkan Korkmaz, and Alec Burks likely ahead of him.

“To mislead him about, ‘Hey, there are lots of opportunities here,’ that’s not true and I told him that,” Brown said.   

Brown, who is also coach of Australia’s Olympic team, expected Broekhoff to take up another NBA team offer or play in Europe.

“I was shocked that he agreed to come,” Brown said.

Broekhoff, who was waived by the Dallas Mavericks in February, said the chance to play for Brown in the NBA and potentially land a long-term deal in Philadelphia was too much of an opportunity to pass.

The 29-year-old revealed he had a serious family reason to sit out the NBA restart at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

“I have a wife and a one-year old son, and my wife has an auto-immune disease, so she’s at high risk for the COVID,” Broekhoff said.

“It’s taken a lot for us to be able to get to this point where we signed.

“We spoke to (76ers general manager) Elton Brand and spoke to coach and just wanted to get some more information of how the bubble would be down in Orlando, and if anything happens at home, what are my options to get back and take care of my family.”

Wednesday was the first day of mandatory individual workouts at the 76ers’ training facility.

Los Angeles Lakers are favourites to win the NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks second and LA Clippers third.

The 76ers’ inconsistency and poor road record before the shutdown has them rated the eighth best chance to win the championship.

They are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a 39-26 win-loss record.

They only won five of their past 10 games and just 10 of their 34 road games.

Australia will be well represented in Orlando when the season resumes.

Joe Ingles’ Utah Jazz play the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of the restart on July 30.

Patty Mills will suit up for the San Antonio Spurs and Aron Baynes for the Phoenix Suns.