Bulked-up Ben Simmons ‘good to go’ ahead of NBA restart

Ben Simmons is “good to go” after overcoming his back injury during the mid-season break, with the Philadelphia 76ers star primed to return for a late run for the NBA title.

Coach Brett Brown confirmed 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.”

A lot of that “tremendous amount of work” appears to have taken place in the weights room, with Simmons revealing a more robust physique in social media posts last month.

That lead some NBA pundits to say he would be able to “dominate” inside and that he is now in the best shape of his career.

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Meanwhile, Brown revealed he was surprised new Australian recruit Ryan 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.

“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.

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.

However, 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.”

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

Ben Simmons is mean-mugging after a dunk. LeBron James looks frustrated behind him.

Ben Simmons is mean-mugging after a dunk. LeBron James looks frustrated behind him.

The Philadelphia 76ers are eighth-favourites to claim the NBA title behind favourites, the LA Lakers.(Reuters: Bill Streicher)

The 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 eighth to win the championship.

They currently sit 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.

AAP/ABC