Simmons described discomfort in his back to Sixers staff on Thursday morning and underwent brief treatment before the medical staff cleared him to work out -- only to leave without doing any on-court activity, sources said.
Simmons, a three-time All-Star who requested a trade four months ago, has left little mystery to Sixers officials and the rest of the league about his desire to never play another game for the franchise. Philadelphia wants him in the lineup and playing as it searches out a trade, or plans to continue to levy significant fines on Simmons for missing games and violating team policies, sources said.
In a Philadelphia radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic on Thursday, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey reiterated that the Sixers wouldn't be rushed into trading Simmons.
"People should buckle in. This is going to take a long time," he said.
Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, has told Sixers officials that Simmons isn't mentally prepared to play yet, sources said. That's a message Simmons could relay himself on Friday when he's expected to meet with Morey and senior staff officials ahead of the morning shootaround for the Sixers-Brooklyn Nets game on ESPN.
Simmons was suspended for the Sixers' victory over the New Orleans Pelicans after coach Doc Rivers threw him out of Monday's practice for failing to sub into a drill.
The Sixers had hoped to see Simmons in the workout Thursday and have him go through the shootaround Friday before their game against Brooklyn, sources said.
Simmons is officially listed as doubtful to play Friday with "return to competition conditioning" as the reason. In addition, star center Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for the game because of right knee soreness.
The 76ers did not practice Thursday, and Simmons has yet to fully engage in a team practice since reporting on Oct. 11 after a two-week holdout.
The 76ers have fined Simmons nearly $2 million for his absence from four preseason games ($360,000 each), the suspension for "conduct detrimental to the team" on opening night and missed practices, on-court workouts and meetings, sources said. Simmons lost approximately $227,000 for Wednesday night's suspension.
ESPN's Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.
Doc Rivers calls Ben Simmons drama 'no fun'
76ers coach Doc Rivers expresses his feelings about the situation with Ben Simmons.