Ben Simmons desperate to face idol LeBron James on Monday

By @saihoops on
Ben Simmons
Oct 23, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) dribbles defended by Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) in the second half at Little Caesars Arena. USA TODAY Sports / Rick Osentoski

Australian prodigy Ben Simmons is receiving around-the-clock treatment on his injured elbow in an effort to be healthy for Monday night's (Tuesday in Australia) clash against idol LeBron James. Simmons missed his first game of the season Saturday when the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Orlando Magic 130-111 at home.

Simmons picked up the elbow injury during Philadelphia's 101-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last Wednesday. The 21-year-old point guard had an inflammation in his elbow and was subsequently withdrawn from the weekend game against Orlando.

According to Sixers coach Brett Brown, Simmons spent the entire American Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) to recover from the injury, just to be fit for Monday's dream showdown against James. 

“He has been aggressive with his rehabilitation. He’s been great staying on top of it. All Thanksgiving day he was on it with our trainers. It wasn’t like he woke up the next morning and realised he (hadn’t done enough). You couldn’t help but think like that. We get who is coming into town (LeBron James) in a few days," Brown said after a team practice session on Saturday.

Ben Simmons still not cleared for Monday

Despite the young Australian's efforts, Brown wasn't ready to commit to Simmons' availability in Monday's game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 

“I don’t even want to make a reckless guess. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a collaborative thing, with the end game being take care of him because we’ve got a long season. This team we have is very fearless. We don’t get star struck too easily. Against Golden State, it’s not like we came out looking for autographs. Cleveland is going to come here and it’s going to be great for the stadium. This building is going to go wild. How about our fans, are you kidding me? The Cleveland Cavaliers -- LeBron and his crew -- they have a heck of a team. But we’re playing great basketball and we look forward to seeing them.”

LeBron James has publicly praised the talents of Simmons, declaring himself a "mentor" and "big brother" to the young Aussie. Simmons, drafted No. 1 overall in 2016, joined James' talent agency upon entering the NBA. Ben Simmons, the overwhelming favourite to win the Rookie of the Year award, is averaging an impressive tally of 18.5 points, 7.7 assists, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals in his first season with the Sixers.

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