Ben Simmons
Photo: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, who has cleared health and safety protocols and is eligible to rejoin the team was still not play in Friday night’s preseason finale against Detroit Pistons.

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The 25-year-old Simmons’ absence was listed as “reconditioning.” He didn’t travel with the team to Detroit for their last pre-season encounter.

Philadelphia begin their NBA regular season campaign against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. They have switched their line-ups throughout the pre-season.

He was one of several Sixers to sit out of Friday’s 112-108 loss to Detroit, alongside fellow stars, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton.

In the wake of his offseason trade demand that rankled some teammates, Simmons missed all the team’s training camp and the preseason so far, further raising the displeasure of fans and left many puzzled why he wants out of last season’s number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

The three-time All-Star, Simmons met with Sixers coach Doc Rivers in private on Tuesday, holding talks. Although it was unclear what Simmons will do yet.

Simmons has four years and $147 million left on his max contract – though the 76ers placed an original pot of $8.25 million due to the guard, and fines for missing games and practices could be and they are subtracted from that amount.

The guard hasn’t played competitively since the Sixers exitplayoffs last season. Simmons chose not to represent his native Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in order to improve his game ahead of the following season.

Sixers president Daryl Morey and Rivers have been publicly optimistic since the start of training camp that Simmons would play for the Sixers this season.

Simmons had shown up to face a city he’d let down last season – something many in the organisation doubted he’d ever do.

“I don’t know if he can face the team or the fans after everything that happened last year,” one source close to the situation puts it.

Simmons was in Philadelphia on Monday night, the player whose confidence unraveled to such an extent he has sworn all summer he’d do just about anything except face the people who witnessed it.

Over his four seasons with the Sixers, Simmons has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists over four seasons.