Exum offers Simmons NBA rehab advice
Photo Source: AP
Dante Exum is holding out hope his good friend and budding NBA star Ben Simmons will overcome a foot fracture so they can go head-to-head when the Utah Jazz play the Philadelphia 76ers in December.
Exum, a guard for the Jazz, and Simmons, a rookie guard-forward for the 76ers, are sons of NBL players and grew up in Melbourne together.
They hoped to live out childhood dreams by duelling on an NBA court this year, but Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal bone his right ankle in practice on September 30 and last week had surgery.
"Hopefully he can get back before that December game," Exum told AAP on Monday.
Simmons is expected to be out for three to four months, offering a slim chance he could be in the 76ers' line-up when they play in Utah on December 29.
It will likely be the last time the Jazz and 76ers play in the 2016/17 season.
Exum, 21, was forced to sit out last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and has been in touch with Simmons, 20, after his recent surgery.
Exum told Simmons "rehab is your job now" and he needed to shake off any physical or mental anguish and focus on getting back on the court.
"He said the surgery went well and is going to rehab, so I'm sure he will come back better and stronger than ever," Exum said.
Before the injury, Exum and Simmons had hyped up their future NBA encounters with friendly jibes about how they would dominate each other.
The banter has continued after the injury with Exum stirring up his friend by suggesting the injury was an excuse not to face his Jazz.
"I said to him he was scared to play us," Exum said.