More Sixers' uncertainty over Simmons saga

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This much is known: Ben Simmons is back in Philadelphia. Yet there's no clear sign yet whether the Australian All-Star guard is set to rescind his trade request and actually play for the 76ers again.

Even coach Doc Rivers - publicly, at least - says he's unsure of the status of the trade demand, the latest wrinkle in the on-again-off-again relationship between Simmons and the Sixers.

"I don't know. He's voiced that, but we'll see how that works out," Rivers said on Wednesday at team practice.

A rescinded request seems improbable, though Rivers said Simmons "was great, he was good" when the two met on Tuesday, a day after the three-time All-Star surprised the franchise by showing up to the arena during a pre-season game to take a COVID-19 test.

Rivers said Simmons was scheduled to return to the practice facility late on Wednesday for an individual workout and would not practice with the team until he clears NBA health and safety protocols.

That is, if he returns to play at all.

That's still a big if for the Sixers, especially with one more pre-season game on Friday at Detroit before next week's season opener at New Orleans.

Rivers, who turned 60 on Wednesday, said he still wanted Simmons to play.

"I'm assuming he's going to play, but who knows? I can't get in anyone's head," Rivers said, adding that he hadn't ruled out Simmons travelling with the team to Detroit.

"Whether we play him or not, that's going to depend on what we see this week," Rivers said.

"He's coming from behind, because he hasn't been in camp, obviously. Having said that, do you rush him and put him on the floor? That's a whole other subject. What we see this week is how we determine everything going forward."

Simmons missed training camp and the preseason so far in the wake of his off-season trade demand that rankled some teammates, raised the wrath of fans and left many puzzled why he wants to leave last season's No.1 seeded team in the Eastern Conference.

Sixers President Daryl Morey and Rivers have been publicly optimistic since the start of training camp that Simmons would play again for the Sixers.

The Sixers are downplaying potential issues in the locker room, should Simmons return.

"We want him back. We want him with us," Danny Green said, while another teammate Seth Curry added: "I'll be able to see when he steps on the floor where his head's at. I don't feel like he needs to explain anything to me."

Talk to Sixers fans, though - they can't wait for answers.

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