BASKETBALL: Australia's No.1 NBA draft pick, Ben Simmons, has taken some tentative steps towards a debut for the Philadelpia 76ers after training without his protective boot.
Simmons has not played for the Sixers after breaking his foot on the final day of a training camp before the season started.
He was forced to have surgery in October and has worn a moon boot since.
That was removed yesterday as he went on court with just his sport shoes.
"He walked out on the court in sneakers and he shot free throws,” Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters in Philadelphia.
"That is significant to me. You're like, 'I got yah. Here we go.'
"Then he walked over to my office and sat down looking like he was healthy. There was no boot, there was nothing earlier that he was wheeling.”
Simmons is still on a tight rein when it comes to training and there has been no date put on his return to action.
"He's still doing some spot shooting. But as far as moving around, that has not happened yet,” Brown said.
The Sixers coach also said he had put Simmons through his paces in a different position.
"We took him through, 'Here, you got the ball, you're the point guard.' What do you see? What do you do? What do I call this? What are the reads? What can he do?”
"We went through that for a half-an-hour this morning.
"I can only speak from a non-medical standpoint and just his coach.
"The evolution that he and I have been able to have in a classroom and on a court and talking things through over the past few months is fantastic.
"He's coming along in leaps and bounds (physically). It's all heading in a positive way.
"We're all going to be just extremely careful - everybody needs to hear that, and we know that. We're going to be extremely careful with how his progression into the team goes.”