76ers rookie Ben Simmons back on court, participates in drills

Philadelphia 76ers prized rookie Ben Simmons was on the court and went through five-on-zero practice drills Tuesday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot in the preseason.

Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters in Philadelphia that the top overall pick in the 2016 draft went through the scripted drills, described as very light and essentially a walk-through, at 80 percent.

"The gym got a lift," Brown told reporters, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "You could feel it."

Simmons, drafted first overall out of LSU, had a screw inserted to repair an acute Jones fracture in his right foot on Oct. 4. He was expected to miss three months.

Earlier this season, Simmons shot down any notion of sitting out his entire rookie season.

"There is no timetable on getting healthy," Simmons said in late October. "I am working every day to get back. As soon as they tell me I can play, I will be out there."

The Sixers (10-25) have won three of their past four games, and a Simmons return would be a major boost for the team.

The 6-foot-10 Simmons handled the ball for the majority of his time during summer league; he would immediately increase the team's tempo with his ability to push and see the floor.

"We played him as a point guard today," center Joel Embiid said, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. "I think that's how they're trying to grow him. I'm excited to see how he develops into that."