Ben Simmons has fractured his fifth metatarsal. So what happens now?
The 1st overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has gone down with what could be a season-ending injury. The 5th metatarsal is the last bone on the outside of the foot. Most breaks in the 5th metatarsal happen in the base of the bone, called a Jones fracture.
We don't know yet that it is a Jones fracture (it could be one of three other parts of the bone that broke, which would greatly reduce recovery time for Simmons from a full season to only 4-6 weeks), but it's safe to assume that it is since the majority of breaks in the 5th metatarsal happen in the base.
So what does this mean? How long is he done for? What are the chances of reinjury?
Well, we can look at other NBA who have suffered these injuries to see what normally happens. We can even look at Simmons' own teammate, Joel Embiid, to see how the injuries vary.
Obviously Embiid has yet to play in an NBA game, two years after being drafted. And this happens more often than people would assume. Other players who have missed multiple seasons with Jones fractures include Brook Lopez (missed 61 of 66 games in 2011-2012 and then 65 of 82 games in 2013-2014), Yao Ming (missed 86 of a possible 246 games from 2005-2008, the entire 2009-2010 season, and all but 5 games of the 2010-2011 season), and Bill Walton (missed 119 of 328 possible games over his first 4 seasons, his entire 5th season, 68 games in his 6th season, his entire 7th and 8th seasons, then 165 of 410 possible games over his final 5 seasons).That's a lot of missed game with between only 4 players. But this is the extreme upper of the Jones fracture. We've also seen players only miss a single season after fracturing their 5th metatarsal.
These players include Michael Jordan (missed 66 games in his second season; went on to almost never miss another game through the rest of his career and become almost the undisputed Greatest of All Time) and Kevin Durant (missed 55 games two seasons ago; returned as strong as ever before). Now you might notice something about these two different groups of people. The players who had their careers ruined by Jones fractures were 7 foot tall, 300-pound giants, while the players who only missed a single season with no other players were guys on the wing, who didn't weigh in excess of 230 pounds.
"But Ben Simmons is in between these two groups", you might be thinking.
Well, you'd be right there. Which is why nobody knows what will happen with Simmons. After the alleged weight gain that Simmons had this summer (somewhere in the vicinity of 15-25 points), we can guess that he wasn't comfortable yet with weighing more than before, and that he got extremely unlucky.
The only news we have right now is from the official 76ers press release:
Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons rolled his right ankle during the final scrimmage of the team's 2016 Training Camp at Stockton University earlier today.
After receiving an X-ray and MRI of the foot and ankle, the images were reviewed by Sixers Head Physician Dr. Christopher Dodson and Sixers Chief Medical Officer and Co-Chief of Sports Medicine Orthopedics at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow.
It was determined that Simmons suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot.
Further medical evaluation and treatment options are being considered at this time and additional updates will be provided when appropriate.
So, what will happen to Big Ben?
Our questions will be answered within the next few days. We'll find out if it's a break on the base or just a simple break on the neck of the bone. We'll find out if it's a hairline fracture or a clean break. And we'll find out if Simmons will be back within the next two months or the next two years. All we can do is wait.