The Philadelphia 76ers officially ruled out forward Ben Simmons for the remainder of his rookie season after tests revealed his broken right foot was not fully healed.
The No. 1 overall draft pick out of LSU is "heartbroken" over the news, Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo told reporters in making the announcement Friday morning.
"I have always known that there was a desire to get him back on the court when healthy," Colangelo said. "We've always anticipated there would be an opportunity for him to play, hopefully this season.
"But there was always the outside chance that it didn't happen because there wasn't complete and full healing. And we weren't going to put Ben Simmons in a place where he was (susceptible) to a re-fracture. There are genetic things that change the healing patterns of people. So if everybody had done their research and saw that most Jones fractures took 3 to 4 months, great. But it's not 3 to 4 months in every case, it's 3 to 4 months in most cases.
"He's heartbroken. He wants to play. He wants to be out there. It's eating him alive, I'm sure."
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Simmons fractured his foot on Sept. 30, the final day of training camp. He underwent surgery in October to repair an acute Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot.
The Sixers said his latest scan taken Thursday showed the injury was not healing as expected.
The 20-year-old Simmons did not appear in a regular-season game. He played a single season at LSU, where he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
The 76ers are 21-35 and have 26 games remaining this season.
Head coach Brett Brown said Thursday that he expected Simmons to play this season.
"I personally would like to see him play this season. I don't backpedal from that," Brown said. "I think my comments are really very much influenced by his reciprocal desire to play this year, which we all respect. Everybody's got clandestine conspiracy theories on why he might not want to play. I know in my heart and speaking to him, he wants to get on a court and play basketball again.
"I hope he can do that, too. If for some reason he can't, we'll deal with it. But I think it would help him to play NBA basketball and get his competitive juices going again if the doctors point us in that direction."