Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons out at least three more weeks with back injury

Anyone who has had a pinched nerve in their back knows that pain can linger.

That’s where 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons is right now. He has a nerve impingement in his back; something is pressing on the nerve, “pinching” it and causing pain. Simmons is going to be out three more weeks to rest and treat the condition and will be re-evaluated then, the team announced Wednesday.

Simmons is the Sixers’ primary ball-handler and averages 16.9 points, 8.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds and a league-best 2.2 steals a night. The Sixers are not the same without him, and have suffered more on defense lately than offense.

Philadelphia is also without Joel Embiid due to a shoulder injury, but he is expected to return this week.

Philadelphia is battling Indiana for the fifth and six seed slots, well below what was expected of the 76ers before the season started. The Sixers are three games back of the Heat for the four seed and home court in the first round, but would need some help to catch them at this point.

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