Severity of Nets’ Ben Simmons’ Injury Revealed: Report

Ben Simmons

Getty Nets star Ben Simmons.

Ben Simmons hasn’t played a game all season. He didn’t suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers due to mental health reasons and a trade request and hasn’t even practiced with the Brooklyn Nets since being acquired in the James Harden trade.

Simmons suffered a back injury while restarting his basketball activities following the Harden trade. The Nets have kept his ailment pretty quiet, but two of the best insiders in the NBA have some news.

According to Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Simmons is dealing with an irritation of the L-4 disc of the lower spine. While that may not sound good, Shelburne and Woj are reporting that Simmons could play in a “couple” of games before the regular season ends.

“There had been an original target for a return on Friday vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, sources said, but that became impossible in recent weeks based on Simmons’ inability to go more than a consecutive day or two in rehab without pain flaring up in the lower back and resetting his timeline, sources said,” Shelburne and Wojnarowski reported. “The Nets are hopeful that Simmons can return to play in regular-season games prior to a postseason likely to begin in the play-in tournament in mid-April.”

The Nets are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They have to win one play-in tournament game to reach the playoffs as the seventh or eighth seed.

If the season ended today, the Nets would face the Toronto Raptors in the first play-in game. Kyrie Irving wouldn’t be able to play since he’s unvaccinated against COVID-19. The All-Star guard would also be ineligible to play in the Nets’ second play-in game against the winner of the Charlotte Hornets-Atlanta Hawks play-in contest if Brooklyn lost to Toronto.

Since Irving is unvaccinated, he can’t play in Toronto or New York, which is why the Nets need Simmons to recover from his back injury as soon as possible.

Nets Need Simmons’ Defense & Playmaking

Simmons may not be able to shoot jumpers, but he’s an elite defender and playmaker. The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year has made two All-Defensive teams and holds career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists.

The Nets get enough scoring from Irving, Kevin Durant and Seth Curry. They just need a stout defender and passer to complement those three and they have one in Simmons, who led the NBA in steals per game in 2019-20 and has averaged over 6.8 assists every season.

It looks like no one knows when Simmons will make his Nets debut. However, Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash can’t wait for that day.

Nash on Simmons: ‘He Is an Amazing Basketball Player’

Nash raved about Simmons after the Nets acquired the LSU product from the Sixers. The Hall of Famer knows his new floor general “does a thousand things on the basketball court.”

“Ben does a thousand things on the basketball court,” Nash said after the Nets acquired Simmons. “Shooting is not one of them that I’m dying to see. He is an amazing basketball player and that’s without shooting the ball. There’s not really a conversation there. If he gets better at shooting, great, but he’s an All-Star basketball player. He has incredible potential to affect games with all the other things he does.”

It will be fascinating to see how the Nets look with Durant, Irving and Simmons on the court together. We just don’t know when that moment will arrive.

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