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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Time out for Ben after surgery

Australia’s No.1 NBA draft pick Ben Simmons has had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot.
Nanjing Night Net

Philadelphia 76ers team officials said on Tuesday that Simmons, the former Newcastle Hunters junior, went through the procedure in New York.

SURGERY: Ben Simmons

There is no timetable yet for his return, however early reports suggested Simmons could be sidelined for at least three months.

But his agent Rich Paul, who also manages LeBron James, reportedly said he would not let the 20-year-old play this season, even if he was cleared to return.

“That’s an injury that you don’t mess around with, and (Paul) thinks he’s going to keep him off his feet all year,” Philadelphia Daily News basketball reporter Bob Cooney told radio station 97.5 The Fanatic.

Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal bone during the 76ers’ final training camp last week.

The injury is the latest blow for a franchise that has had several injuries to key players, plus losing streaks of 26 and 28 games over the past three seasons.

Simmons, the 208cm, 109kg forward out of LSU, was scheduled to start for the Sixers in their pre-season opener on Tuesday against Boston.

Simmons was Philadelphia’s first No. 1 overall pick since they drafted Allen Iverson in 1996.

The NBL has signed a deal to broadcast every game of the 2016-17 season in China, paving the way for a Chinese team to eventually join the league.

In what the NBL has described as a first for Australian sport, the games will stream live on Youku – described as the YouTube of China – and sports website Sina Sports, and will feature commentary and graphics in Mandarin.

The deal comes as NBL general manager Jeremy Loeliger prepares to visit China to sound out interest in a Chinese team one day joining the league.

“If you look at the strategy of the players who are getting involved now, I have no doubt in my mind that they’re putting themselves in a position to take content in the event that there is a Chinese team that joins the NBL,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“Obviously, that’s very high on my agenda when I go and have those discussions in China next week. At this stage, that’s still very much fact-finding and feeling out the local market as to what that opportunity might look like and how it might be structured.

“Sport is often talked about as the next big boom industry in China … we’re there at the very beginning of that wave starting to form.”

Youku, owned by online commerce giant Alibaba, attracts 50 million unique daily visits.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed but Loeliger said the ability to reach Chinese households would provide a lucrative incentive for potential sponsors.

The league was on its knees several years ago as dwindling crowds, poor TV ratings, and a lack of star power threatened the existence of Australia’s professional basketball competition.

But it has enjoyed a revival over the past two years, helped by a new digital broadcast strategy.

The league has this year made every game available live through its NBL TV app, which is free to season-ticket holders, in addition to broadcast deals with Fox Sports and SBS.

Wednesday’s announcement follows the Sydney Kings becoming the first club in NBL history to lure a Chinese-born player, signing Shenzen Leopards giant Bo Liu as a development player via a loan deal.

Loeliger hinted that Liu won’t be the only Chinese player to join the league.

“Certainly, our partners in China have asked questions about what they can do around Sydney games to highlight Bo Liu’s involvement,” he said.