Dr. David Chao: Practice Dunks From Ben Simmons, Zion Williamson Mean Nothing

As the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans embark on the playoffs, a star injured player for each team tried to insert themselves into the conversation with slam dunks that ultimately hold no meaning. Neither are in position to help their teams right now, though they did generate false hope.

Ben Simmons has yet to play for the Nets (or for his previous 76ers team) this season. Over a month ago after an epidural steroid injection, it seemed like a lost season for him.

Now Simmons says to a reporter "make sure you get this" and goes up for this dunk followed by "there you go."



What does this prove? A 6-foot-11 NBA star is able to make a leisurely one-handed dunk while jumping off both feet? High schoolers do that routinely. I would hope any fan who is that tall could get off their couch to do this.

There are reports that Simmons is slated to return as early as Game 4 in the first round. That seems overly optimistic. Even if that happens, it seems doubtful that there can be any meaningful contribution being that Simmons has not yet played this season and has yet to be on the court with his new team.

All the way back in December, it felt like Zion's season was over. His pregame dunk generated considerable excitement on a return.


No question that Zion is a great talent (even if he is carrying extra weight) but traveling along the baseline before an acrobatic dunk only shows his athleticism, not his readiness to play.

With the slow-healing stress fracture, it is not about being able to dunk one time in spectacular fashion but about sustained activity without aggravation. The Pelicans have already ruled him out.  Facing the Suns in the first round, it seems any hope is short-lived anyways.

Highlight reels are all about dunks but there is much more to basketball than that.

Written by
David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.