However, the numerous setbacks in his on-court work, including a back injury, have clouded when he will return. The latest update regarding Simmons’ recovery should only further create doubt in Brooklyn.
Ben Simmons’ complicated recovery process
When the Nets acquired Simmons, the team envisioned him only requiring a couple of weeks to get his physical conditioning up to par.
However, the process has taken a concerning turn. Last week, head coach Steve Nash revealed that Simmons needed an epidural shot to relieve pain stemming from a herniated disc in his back.
“The physical therapist just works on his rehabilitation,” Nash said via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “I wasn’t on [the table] working on him. They do what they do in a clinical setting and try to improve his condition. A lot of bio-mechanical work, manual therapy, all sorts of stuff to get him in a position to start to move in the right sequence and fashion.”
Nash added that he still fully expects Simmons to play this season but didn’t provide a timetable regarding the three-time All-Star’s return. The Nets initially targeted the March 18 game against the Portland Trail Blazers for his debut, but that was pushed back due to multiple setbacks.
Simmons has continued his rehab work, but teammate Andre Drummond’s recent comments don’t exactly provide much encouragement.
Ben Simmons’ latest injury update just another significant blow to Nets’ title hopes
Over the last few weeks, the Nets have maintained optimism that Ben Simmons will play this season.
As the regular season winds down in less than two weeks, Simmons remains without a timetable for his return. His back issue has hindered his recovery process, further clouding the situation. Veteran big man Andre Drummond added to the uncertainty as he voiced that he’s doesn’t know what the three-time All-Star is doing in his rehab work.
“In terms of what he’s doing, none of us know,” Drummond said via the New York Daily News. “He’s the mystery guy. He comes in in sweats every day, and then God knows what he does after that. So hopefully he’s doing this recovery and he’s getting better each and every day. When we get him back, we get him back.”
Drummond noted that Simmons is moving well in his on-court work and can pass the ball. The 25-year-old is pushing through his recovery, but there isn’t any clarity about when he will play again. It’s encouraging for the Nets to see him move around on the practice court, but he still has several hurdles to clear.
Nash voiced on Tuesday that Simmons has yet to make any progress in his recovery work and hasn’t undergone a new MRI. The star guard’s back issue is still a factor while he needs to get his body conditioned to play in games. The Nets need him to play more than limited minutes, and he has an increasingly smaller window with each contest that passes that he doesn’t take the court.
Brooklyn is also falling further into the play-in tournament route that could see their season come down to one game. Much could change, but the clock is ticking on Simmons to return.
Nets have their backs against the wall
Although the Nets now have Kyrie Irving available to play all home games, the team remains in a challenging position.
Brooklyn has won seven out of their last 10 games but sits in the eighth spot only a half-game ahead of the ninth-seeded Charlotte Hornets and one game above the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks. The Nets would need a monumental collapse to fall out of the play-in picture, sitting 6.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks with seven regular-season games.
The pressure sits on Kevin Durant to lead the charge to push his team forward Nonetheless, Brooklyn controls their fate that will need a strong finish to avoid the disastrous outcome of missing the playoffs.