NBA Insider Updates Uncertainty Surrounding Nets’ Ben Simmons’ Injury

Nets guard Ben Simmons

Getty Nets star Ben Simmons.

Ben Simmons is dealing with a herniated disc in his back, which has prevented him from making his Brooklyn Nets debut. The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year hasn’t practiced with his new teammates and some people around the NBA believe Simmons won’t play this season.

However, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nets expect Simmons to play either before the regular season ends, in the play-in tournament or in the playoffs if the team advances past the play-in tournament.

The Nets thought Simmons would make his team debut on March 18 against the Portland Trail Blazers. However, the LSU product’s back issues persisted.

Simmons, who had an epidural injection to relieve soreness in his back, has dealt with back issues dating back to February 2020 when he missed time due to a nerve impingement, according to Charania.

Simmons Wants to Be Back on the Floor as Soon as He Can

Charania reported last week that Simmons wants to be back on the floor as soon as he can. However, the Nets will remain cautious with the lefty since he seems to suffer pain in his back every time he ramps up.

“Simmons is dealing with a herniated disc in his back and although his return to action this season is uncertain, he wants to be back on the floor as soon as he can, sources tell The Athletic. Simmons, who had an epidural injection last week to relieve the soreness, has dealt with back issues dating back to February 2020 when he missed time due to a nerve impingement,” Charania reported.

“As Nets general manager Sean Marks said recently, Simmons’ return this season has been delayed due to the back. Then, a target return of March 18 against the Portland Trail Blazers was missed as the back issues persisted. The 25-year-old is expected to continue to work toward a return for the NBA playoffs and would make his debut whenever he is fully cleared to play, but it’s uncertain when that will be.”

The Nets are 38-35 on the season. They are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. It looks like they will have to win one play-in game to reach the playoffs. Kyrie Irving recently got cleared to play in home games, which is great news for the Nets.

However, if Brooklyn faces the Toronto Raptors in the first play-in game and the contest is held in Toronto, Irving will be ineligible, which is why the Nets are hopeful Simmons will be ready to go by then.

Simmons Brings a Lot to the Table

Simmons can’t shoot jumpers. He’s only made five 3-pointers in his career and shoots a woeful 59.7% from the free-throw line.

However, the three-time All-Star is an elite defender and playmaker. He has career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists and led the NBA in steals per game during the 2019-20 season.

Simmons can focus on passing and defense and stay somewhat under the radar with the Nets since Irving and Kevin Durant are the focal points on offense. Brooklyn gets enough scoring from Irving, Durant and Seth Curry. Head coach Steve Nash basically just needs Simmons to play stout defense and push the ball in transition with his speed and find open shooters from beyond the arc.

It will be interesting to see if Simmons plays this season. Charania makes it seem like the All-NBA defender will suit up eventually, but since back injuries are tricky to deal with, nothing can be set in stone.

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