Baffling detail in Ben Simmons photo at 76ers practice session

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·Sports Reporter
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Ben Simmons was seen practicing with his phone in his pocket after returning to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ben Simmons returned to Philadelphia 76ers practice this week, but was pictured running drills with his phone in his pocket. Pictures: Getty Images/Twitter

Ben Simmons is back at Philadelphia 76ers practice, but one clip has demonstrated his still-questionable commitment to the team with the NBA season days away.

The 25-year-old re-joined the team in time for the regular season after a protracted off-season stand-off, in which he demanded a trade the 76ers were unable to facilitate.

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Simmons had been adamant he would not play for the team again, but eventually relented as the financial penalties for skipping practices and pre-season games added up.

Tuesday's practice session was the first time media had been allowed in to see Simmons in action with his teammates, with a press conference to follow on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for Simmons, questions about his commitment to the team are likely to dominate his availability after he was seen practicing with his phone in his pocket.

Keen-eyed observers spotted the phone, while the Australian former #1 pick made a swift exit after practice and was barely on the fringes of the team huddle.

As the rest of their team put their hands in to end the huddle, Simmons could be seen at the back, casually dribbling a basketball.

Simmons attended his first practice over the weekend after being cleared to return late last week, with 76ers head coach Doc Rivers saying he was in 'good shape' but not 'game shape'.

Asked when Simmons would be fully re-integrated into the team and what his playing prospects were for the regular season, Rivers indicated it was still to be decided.

"I'm gonna wait and see," Rivers said. "Conditioning, I would say, just watching him, he's in decent shape. Still not, obviously, game shape."

It appears unlikely however, that Simmons will play a role on Philadelphia's season opener against New Orleans.

"Right now, I'm just trying to get him back comfortable and integrated," Rivers said. 

"I'm not even thinking about that. That'll come at some point. There's no game plan there, I'll tell you that. When he's ready, he'll play."

Sixers to enter NBA season dealing with Ben Simmons uncertainty

Simmons missed training camp and the preseason so far in the wake of his off-season trade demand that rankled some teammates, raised the wrath of fans and left many puzzled why he wants to leave last season's No.1 seeded team in the Eastern Conference.

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

The Sixers are downplaying potential issues in the locker room, should Simmons return.

"We want him back. We want him with us," Danny Green said, while another teammate Seth Curry added: "I'll be able to see when he steps on the floor where his head's at. I don't feel like he needs to explain anything to me."

Ben Simmons is pictured at the back of the 76ers team huddle after practice.
Ben Simmons didn't join the 76ers team huddle after practice, making a swift exit after it was over. Picture: Twitter

Talk to Sixers fans, though - they can't wait for answers.

Tensions escalated between Simmons and the team after Philadelphia's second-round playoff came with widespread criticism that Simmons was unwilling to shoot as he became an offensive liability. 

He made an unexpected return to the team last Monday after being fined $360,000 for missing a preseason game. 

He faced the prospect of continued fines as the 76ers reportedly held more than $8 million of his $33 million salary in escrow.

With AAP/Yahoo Sport US

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