Ben Simmons is back at Philadelphia 76ers practice.
In body, at least. His spirit appears to be another matter.
Multiple videos surfaced from Monday’s team practice, Simmons’ second with the 76ers since he ended his holdout last week. Let’s just say he looks less than engaged.
Video from NBC Sports Philadelphia showed Simmons participating in drills with his teammates. He did so while wearing warmup pants and what appears to be a cellphone in his pocket.
Maybe he forgot his Fitbit and just wanted to keep track of his steps.
A video from the end of practice is even more telling. WPVI shared video of a post-session team huddle. Players, coaches and staff joined hands in the middle to break practice. That is, except for Simmons. The disgruntled 76ers point guard skipped the huddle and made a beeline off the court as soon as practice broke while his teammates mingled on the floor.
In case you missed him, that’s Simmons in the back nonchalantly dribbling a basketball during the team bonding moment.
Monday’s update is the first look at Simmons since head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that he was back at practice Sunday for the first time since last week’s surprise report to team facilities that ended his holdout. Rivers said then that Simmons was “in decent shape” but not “game shape” and wouldn’t speculate on when Simmons might join his teammates for games.
Simmons missed all of preseason during his holdout. The 76ers open their regular season on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Judging by Monday’s videos, Simmons doesn’t look intent on rushing back to action. Simmons was reportedly adamant that he wouldn’t play again for the 76ers during a tumultuous offseason that reportedly included team management unsuccessfully shopping him on the trade market.
Simmons took heat for his inability and unwillingness to shoot during Philadelphia’s disappointing second-round playoff exit to the Atlanta Hawks, including from Rivers and All-Star teammate Joel Embiid. Simmons was ultimately compelled to report as the 76ers docked him $360,000 for missing a preseason game and reportedly held more than $8 million of his salary in escrow in anticipation of future penalties.
From the looks of Monday’s practice, Simmons is taking notes from former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, who famously told reporters at a 2015 media session: “I’m here so I don’t get fined.”