Doc Rivers Provides Interesting Health Update on Sixers Star

Sixers’ Doc Rivers on Ben Simmons’ Illness: ‘I Am Not a Real Doctor’


Ben Simmons and Doc Rivers during a January game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ben Simmons missed his fourth straight game on Saturday afternoon and there’s still no timetable on a return. The Philadelphia 76ers All-Star point guard is dealing with a severe flu. Fortunately, it’s not COVID-19.

Simmons’ illness certainly has occurred at the worst possible time, coinciding with a brutal stretch of games: Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks (twice), with a two-game series versus the Atlanta Hawks on the horizon. Simmons is averaging 14.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists for the Sixers this season.

Doc Rivers told reporters that he has talked to Simmons, but the head coach didn’t ask his star player when he was coming back. He doesn’t get involved in that stuff, although he did reveal that Simmons was feeling a lot better and stronger since first sitting out on April 19.

“He’s better, not great but a lot better,” Rivers said. “The first thing he told me is he’s feeling stronger and that’s a good thing, that’s all you ask for.”

The Sixers ran Simmons through standard medical testing and took his bloodwork. It’s the flu, per Rivers.

“It’s knocked him out and it is what it is,” Rivers said, adding the two didn’t discuss a return. “I’ve always learned they’ll tell us. The trainers will tell us. And then the player will tell us. I’ve never gotten involved in that stuff. I don’t think it’s a good place for a coach.”

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Young Sixers Gravitating Toward Wise Veterans

George Hill has only appeared in three games for the Sixers, but his impact is being felt in so many different ways. Especially among the young players who have freely and actively gravitated toward the older guys on the team. Rivers relayed a story about guys crowding around Anthony Tolliver’s locker on Saturday as they were preparing to face the Bucks.

“I walked through the locker room today and four young guys are sitting over by his locker and he’s telling his war stories as I always call them,” Rivers said of Tolliver. “It’s good that they want the information, a lot of guys don’t want the information.”

They are genuinely interested in hearing what the sage veterans have to say. Guys like Tolliver and Hill, along with Tobias Harris, Dwight Howard, Danny Green have become modern-day oracles to them.

“They have to in a lot of ways because we’re so damn young,” Rivers said. “Who are they going to listen to, Shake and Furk? In two years, yeah — it’s really interesting with our guys, when a veteran comes in they just start gravitating over to him.”

Paul Reed Falls Throw in COVID-19 Protocol

Simmons might just be dealing with the flu but second-round pick Paul Reed has been placed in the league’s health and safety protocol. Rivers wouldn’t confirm a positive test result for COVID-19 since it’s against the NBA’s privacy laws.

However, Reed is out for the foreseeable future. In addition, Joel Embiid (right shoulder soreness) and Furkan Korkmaz (right ankle sprain) were listed questionable for Saturday’s game against Milwaukee.