Sixers' Ben Simmons (back) can't guarantee he returns this season

Are the 76ers a true threat in the East with Embiid and Simmons healthy? (1:34)

Tom Haberstroh breaks down the 76ers' playoff chances if both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are healthy. (1:34)

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons told reporters Wednesday that he can't guarantee he will be return from his back injury at some point during this NBA season.

"I can't give you dates or a timeline," Simmons told reporters prior to Wednesday's game against the Detroit Pistons, which saw Philadelphia's other injured All-Star, Joel Embiid, return from a shoulder injury. "I'm doing well. Rehab has been great. Progressing, staying in there and doing what I can to come back 100 percent."

Simmons also didn't rule out the possibility of surgery, when asked if rehabilitation would be enough to solve the problem, or if he would eventually need to have surgery to fix it.

"I mean, I think that's something down the road if it gets to that," Simmons said. "But right now I'm doing great. I feel great, and I'm feeling strong."

When he will be strong enough to return to the court, however, is anyone's guess. Simmons, who suffered a nerve impingement in his back in the first quarter of Philadelphia's loss on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 22, said that he began rehabbing his back four or five days later, and has continued to rehab it ever since.

But while he said repeatedly he is feeling better, and that he isn't in any pain, he said he had yet to do any on-court work at all -- just a few hours after the Sixers, in updating his status, said there would not be another update until early April.

"It's just something I'm rehabbing now," said Simmons, who is averaging 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 8.2 assists this season. "There's no timeline on it. So whenever I'm back, I'm back. Whenever I'm 100 percent, I'm coming back. I'm not here to just sit out and wait. But when I'm healthy, I'll be playing."

Simmons, who was speaking to the media for the first time since suffering the injury, said that how it looked during the game -- when he instantly looked in pain, tried to jog up and down the court for a couple of possessions and then checked out and headed to the locker room -- is exactly what happened.

"I felt a pinch in my back during the game," Simmons said. "I tried to continue through it for a little bit and obviously knew it was something that was bothering me too much, and then I went back to the locker room."

Philadelphia has struggled without Simmons, going 3-4 since he got hurt -- including 1-4 on the road, to drop to a dismal 10-24 on the road this season, with the last five of those games also coming without Embiid's services after he hurt his shoulder in the second quarter of the Sixers' loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 26.

But while Embiid's injury was always seen as a relatively short-term thing, from the moment Simmons left the court in Milwaukee it has been unclear when -- or if -- he would be able to return. And, for now, he doesn't know, either.

"Obviously you guys know coming to Philly, I had the first injury [a broken foot his rookie season] and I think I'm able to deal with injuries and obstacles that come my way," Simmons said. "When [the back injury] happened it was a disappointment, but, at the same time, it was something to where I can get my mental right, get my strength for whenever I come back.

"It's just time. It's part of the game."