Australia's injured No.1 draft pick Ben Simmons may miss his entire rookie NBA season with the Philadelphia 76ers, according to reports.
Simmons was initially expected to be sidelined for three months after fracturing his foot at training last Friday, but there's now a suggestion he may sit out the season.
Simmons' agent Rich Paul, who also manages LeBron James, reportedly said he would not let the 20-year-old power forward play this season to let the injury fully heal, even if he was cleared to play.
"I just got off the phone with somebody who I really trust in the NBA, and he's like there's no way his agent is going to let him play this year," Philadelphia Daily News basketball reporter Bob Cooney told radio station 97.5 The Fanatic.
"That's an injury that you don't mess around with, and he thinks he's going to keep him off his feet all year."
Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant suffered the same fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone and required three rounds of surgery in six months.
Simmons will also most likely will require surgery although the club is yet to confirm any timeframe for the operation.
James said he would be helping his "little brother" Simmons battle through the mental and physical challenges of his recovery.
The Melbourne-born Simmons was scheduled to make his NBA pre-season debut for the 76ers against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
"It's like, 'damn'," James said, talking to reporters after Cleveland Cavaliers' practice on Monday.
"That's the first thing that came to my mind."
Although they play on opposing NBA teams, James, who led the Cavaliers to an NBA Championship last season, has taken Simmons under his wing.
"I've already done that and I'll continue to do it," said James, when asked if he had reached out to Simmons.
"He's like a little brother of mine and I've been with him and counselled him for the last four-to-five years now.
"I'll continue that."
James said Simmons can't attempt to rush the recovery process and get frustrated about not playing.
"He has a long career in front of him and he just has to be patient, let the foot heal and when he gets back on the floor then he'll show why he's the number one pick."