Sixers' Ben Simmons: 'I'm feeling better than I was when I started this season'

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons during a game against the Boston Celtics on Jan. 9. - YONG KIM/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

PHILADELPHIA — Ben Simmons’ declaration has to be pleasing to the 76ers.

“I’m feeling better than I was when I started this season,” Simmons said during Thursday’s Zoom call with the media.

Simmons missed the final game before the NBA shutdown with a lower-back pinched nerve and began his rehabilitation a few days after suffering the injury against the Bucks on Feb. 22 in Milwaukee. The chiseled 6-foot-10, 240-pounder said he’s added more strength and muscle to his frame. He also feels more explosive.

“I was able to get pilates in almost every day, lifting weights taking care of my body, getting back to 100 percent,” Simmons said. “So I’ve just been trying to go overboard with that, and be prepared to be down there (in Orlando) and play.”

The two-time All-Star point guard said he’s in a lot more control while on the floor, knowing what he’s capable of with his body.

“Overall, feel like I’m back to 100 percent,” Simmons said. “It’s a good feeling.”

As shown in recent videos of him converting dunks in Los Angeles, Simmons appears to be ready for the NBA restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Sixers will travel to Disney’s “bubble” site July 9 and participate in training until July 29. The team’s eight-game regular season opens on Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers.

Simmons averaged 16.7 points, 8.2 assists (fifth in NBA) and 7.8 rebounds in 54 games played this season. The defensive player of the year candidate also led the NBA in 2.1 steals per game.

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