NBA Rumor: Ben Simmons Injury

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Sean Marks on Ben Simmons: We saw how he wanted to get out there

“Frustrating from an organizational standpoint. but even more so from Ben’s,: said Marks. “I had a conversation with Ben. We all did. We saw how he wanted to get out there. To be honest, I’ve got to admire that. He tries to do 3-on-3, 5-on-5 and then you turn around and get an MRI, You see the disc herniation has gotten worse. and you think, well this guy is pushing through something that he shouldn’t be pushing through. Nobody wants to have surgery. It’s the last resort but it’s bygone now and we’ve got to move forward on this, we’ve got to support him and so forth.”

Asked for lessons learned from the Simmons off-again, on-again saga. Marks used the opportunity to critique the critics. “It’s a little bit of a testament that 1) he tried to get back out there and tried to help his teammates and secondly, we have to be careful not judge people. And if you’re outside that medical profession, when you’re chiming in from afar. You just have to be a bit careful of what you’re saying because you really don’t know,” said Marks.

The Nets want the rehabbing Simmons to be in Brooklyn as much as possible, putting Philadelphia as far in the review mirror as he can. The 25-year-old finally is offloading his South Jersey mansion, which can only help toward that end, one small step.  Simmons — who forced a trade from the 76ers to the Nets on Feb. 10, but didn’t play at all this past season — sold his suburban mansion in Moorestown, N.J., for $4.55 million, and has his condo in the Ritz Carlton Residences in downtown Philadelphia on the market as well. Both listings were reported by The Dirt.

NBA insider Brian Windhorst, speaking on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Monday, said that Simmons is not a “sympathetic figure” due to the choices he’s made this season, and laid out the Nets’ fatigue with his decision to sit out Game 4 with what he has attributed to back pain popping back up. “Your immediate reaction is he just doesn’t want to play in a series that’s 3-0. I’ll be honest with you — that was my first reaction,” Windhorst said. “When I talked to people involved, they were exasperated. They said he woke up, his back hurt and he wasn’t able to play. There wasn’t much more to say. They’re pretty much waving the white flag on this one. It’s extraordinarily disappointing.”

Ben Simmons originally expected to return for Game 3 against Celtics

Ben Simmons’ absence from this postseason has garnered the most glaring spotlight of all. Before the Celtics series began on Easter Sunday, league sources told B/R the 25-year-old three-time All-Star and Nets personnel were confident he was on track to play as early as Game 3. Then his purported timeline became Game 4. That is until Sunday, when Simmons informed Brooklyn staffers he was experiencing back soreness, one day before Monday’s fateful Game 4 defeat.

Instead, the Nets ruled Simmons out of Game 4 altogether, sources said, as a sense of fatigue from the situation and general disappointment seemed to permeate the franchise. After visiting the floor for pregame warm-ups prior to Game 3, Simmons did not partake in any pregame work Monday and was not present on the bench alongside his teammates for Game 4, which one source told B/R was because of his lingering back discomfort. Simmons certainly wouldn’t have debuted on the road in front of a hostile Boston crowd for Game 5. Could he have appeared in Game 6? We’ll never know.

Ben Simmons facing mental block in return-to-play process

Sunday’s events triggered frustration and disheartenment throughout the organization, multiple sources said. The fallout of Simmons being ruled out Sunday led to a meeting among franchise officials, Simmons and his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, on Monday in Brooklyn. According to sources, Simmons told those in the room that a mental block exists for him, dating in part to last summer’s postseason, which is creating stress that could serve as a trigger point for his back issues. He added that he does want to play basketball and play for the Nets as he works on solutions in regard to his well-being.

Simmons had been described as pain-free for the majority of the past month but began to cite soreness in his back on Friday, and a scheduled scrimmage was pushed back, multiple sources said. Simmons conducted two full-court scrimmages last week on Monday and Wednesday, in which there was low intensity displayed, those sources said. Throughout Simmons’ rehab, both Durant and Irving, for their part, publicly downplayed their expectations for a Simmons return and said the goal is to get him healthy.

Simmons had another workout on Saturday, after which Nash said Simmons had no issues. On Sunday, Simmons informed the team his back was sore. For Nets players, the confusion was not centered around Simmons’ ailment, but with the perceived lack of attempt to play, effort to be in uniform and push his body in these high-stakes playoffs, sources said. Nets players and coaches wanted to see Simmons show resolve and enter this series to start his on-court Brooklyn tenure, even if it was for limited minutes on Monday or none at all while still dressing for the game.

Ben Simmons to play in Game 4 vs. Celtics?

Game 4 on Monday may be Nets’ last of the season. It could also be Ben Simmons’ first. Nets coach Steve Nash was non-committal about Simmons being able to suit up Monday against the Celtics, but the young All-Star went through a third high-intensity contact workout on Saturday and seems on course for Game 4. That game will be do-or-die after the Nets lost Game 3 to the Celtics 109-103 at Barclays Center. “I think it’s possible [for Simmons to play]. But I’m not sure,” Nash said. “It’s not a normal return to play being out nine months and being injured as long as he has been. At the back end of this, it’s been about two months or more.

“It’s not just he got through three workouts and he’s ready to play. There’s a bigger picture, bigger context to how he’s feeling, and how he’d be able to adapt to the environment. There are a few factors that play here to evaluate when he’s ready to play.” Blake Griffin made his first appearance since April 2. He had eight points, one rebound and hit 2-for-3 from deep. “We all just need to take a look in the mirror and watch the tape and be real with ourselves and ask ourselves what we can do to be better, because it’s top to bottom,” Griffin said.

The Nets will tip off their first-round playoff series in Boston on Sunday. Is there a chance of Simmons playing versus the Celtics? Game 4 won’t be until April 25 at Barclays Center, a day or two later than every other series’ Game 4. The source close to Simmons said that extra time would be a big help in the All-Star’s race against time to return from a herniated L-4 disk. “The NBA did us a huge favor,” the source told The Post. “There’s like 10 days in there [to recover].”

Kevin Durant doesn't expect Ben Simmons to play vs. Celtics

However, on Thursday, it was reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Simmons is hoping to play by Game 4 to Game 6, if needed, of the Celtics series. Ben Simmons hasn’t played in a professional basketball game since June 20, 2021. He’s remained out during the entire 2022 season due to a recurring back injury and mental health concerns. On the other hand, Nets teammate Kevin Durant does not think Simmons will be ready to play during the Celtics series. “Nah, I’m not expecting him to play,” Durant said, via SNY. “I’m not putting any pressure on Ben to come out there and hoop. I’m not expecting him to do anything but get his body right and get healthy as fast as he can. In my mind, I’m preparing as if we’re playing with the team we have.”

After orthopedic experts told The Post that Simmons likely would require an epidural, he got just such an injection. And on April 7 a league source said it was paying dividends, albeit admitting time was growing short. “It looks like he’s doing a little bit better,” the source told The Post. “It’s just a timing thing. The problem is the season is running out. But he’s doing [more]. He’s starting to do a little bit more movement, AlterG, stuff like that. So … we’ve got to be patient with it. I don’t think he’ll need a procedure, but you’ve just got to be patient with it.”

After orthopedic experts told The Post that Ben Simmons likely would require an epidural, he got just such an injection. And on April 7 a league source said it was paying dividends, albeit admitting time was growing short. “It looks like he’s doing a little bit better,” the source told The Post. “It’s just a timing thing. The problem is the season is running out. But he’s doing [more]. He’s starting to do a little bit more movement, AlterG, stuff like that. So … we’ve got to be patient with it. I don’t think he’ll need a procedure, but you’ve just got to be patient with it.”

Ben Simmons could play in the first round

Brooklyn Nets forward Ben Simmons’ pain-free progress is fueling hope that he could return in the first-round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, even if it’s just in a 10-15 minute a game role, sources told ESPN on Sunday. The Nets would need to advance out of the Play-in Tournament this week and, given continued progress with his back, the hope would be that Simmons could possibly be cleared to play later in a first-round playoff series.

After having been ruled out for the play-in tournament earlier this week, time is running out for Ben Simmons to return to action for the Nets, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Sports+ link). Simmons is suffering from a herniated L-4 disc in his lower spine and received an epidural last month to treat the injury. He’s starting to feel better, and there’s hope he’ll avoid surgery, but it appears increasing unlikely he’ll be able to return for the playoffs. “It looks like he’s doing a little bit better,” a league source told Lewis. “You know, it’s just a timing thing. The problem is the season is running out. But he’s doing [more]. He’s starting to do a little bit more movement, AlterG (an anti-gravity treadmill), stuff like that. So … we’ve got to be patient with it. I don’t think he’ll need a procedure, though. But you’ve just got to be patient with it.”

When asked what the rehabbing Ben Simmons looks like in Nets practice, Drummond said: “Good, good. He’s moving around a little bit more. He looks good, he looks happy.” But what exactly is Simmons doing in practice? “In terms of what he’s doing, none of us know,” Drummond continued. “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.”

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons has a herniated disk in his back, coach Steve Nash said prior to Monday night’s 114-106 win against the Utah Jazz. Nash remains optimistic that Simmons will play at some point this season, but with just 11 regular-season games left, the organization is running out of time for the former All-Star to make his season debut. Simmons had an epidural last week to alleviate some pressure in his back. “He’s had this a couple years ago, so he’s had [herniated disks] throughout his career at some points,” Nash said. “And I guess there was a flare-up. I’m not sure when they recognized it was beyond a back flare-up and a herniated disk or what not, but somewhere along the line there, that was the reason for the epidural.”
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September 27, 2022 | 4:31 pm EDT Update