Nets hope Ben Simmons starts ramping up this week, expect him to join team later on current road trip
Now that Kevin Durant has returned to the Brooklyn Nets roster after missing time with an MCL sprain, all attention is turning to Ben Simmons’ season debut. Since acquiring Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers at the Feb. 10 trade deadline, the All-Defensive guard has struggled with a stiff back and has yet to make his Brooklyn debut.
Following his resistance in Philadelphia, the last time Simmons played in an NBA game was Game 7 of the Sixers’ second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks on June 20. an interview with Michael Grady of YES Network On Thursday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said they hoped he would be able to begin accelerating his return to play program by the end of next week.
“Unfortunately, his stiff back has delayed his ability to get on the pitch with his teammates, so he re-educated that last type of week to 10 days,” Marks said. “And then now he’s going to progress through this week with a few individuals [work]. Hopefully by the end of next week he will fit more into the team environment and then we can really ramp up and start getting him in shape and so on.
“Although there is no real timetable, we have to take it day by day and see how it reacts. And hopefully the sooner the better. We have to get this group together and get minutes together. in the field.”
This lines up with what coach Steve Nash said last week before Brooklyn hosted the Toronto Raptors (and shortly before Nash was placed in health and safety protocols). “He’s just doing light shooting and just physical therapy,” Nash said, describing Simmons’ back problem as a “little push.” Typically, before the Nets allow a player to return from a long absence, they must complete three high-intensity practices (i.e., five-on-five full-contact scrums).
Nash also said Sunday before Brooklyn’s game against the Boston Celtics that while there was no real update on Simmons’ status, he is should join the Nets on their current three-game road trip that culminates in a showdown against the Sixers on March 10. When Simmons was introduced as a member of the Nets after the trade deadline, he talked about his hopes of playing against the Sixers, and certainly everyone will want to see these two teams face off. But based on Marks’ comments, next Sunday (March 13 against the New York Knicks) is Simmons’ absolute first comeback, but even that is probably optimistic.