The Nets still aren't sure about Ben Simmons' return
Though the Brooklyn Nets hope for his return, its understood that All-Star Ben Simmons can't participate in basketball activity due to his injured back.
The back and forth regarding Simmons' injury status continues, only this time it now seems that the Nets' new point guard has taken a step backward as opposed to forward.
Ben Simmons can't participate in basketball activity
With the playoffs looming, the Nets are fighting to live up to the high expectations placed on them since the beginning of the season. Yet as they do so, a considerable amount of focus has been on the status of newly acquired point guard Ben Simmons. To date Simmons has not played for the season and and more over has no clear timetable set for his return to the court. Since his signing from the Philadelphia 76ers last month, the All-Star has been struggling to recover from a back injury.
To make matters worse, Nets' headcoach Steve Nash said on Sunday that for the moment Simmons is actually unable to participate in any basketball activity. Indeed, it is understood that Simmons is currently working alongisde the team's medical staff to in an effort to rehabilitate his back injury. "The physical therapist just works on his rehabilitation," Nash said. "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." While this is understandably bad news for the Nets, Nash remains confident saying that he is "fully expecting" to have Simmons on the court this season. Just when that will occur remains to be seen, but according to sources the Nets are hopeful it will be before the regular season ends.
The Ben Simmons situation remains unclear
While it was initially thought that Simmons could feature in the Nets' most recent game, which was on Friday March 18th against the Portland Trail Blazers, that plan had to be abandoned following a set back in his rehab routine. Adding further weight to the scenario, it is understood that Simmons had to receive an epidural in order to reduce the pain he is experiencing. In terms of what specifically is wrong with Ben Simmons' back, ESPN reports that the Nets' guard has an irritation of the L-4 disc of the lower spine.
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The general situation does of course come in some degree of contrast to the views expressed by Nets General manager Sean Marks who recently said, "Although there's no real timetable, we've got to take it day by day and see how he responds. And hopefully sooner the better. We need to get this group together and get minutes together on the court." Keeping that in mind, it must be said that the Nets and Simmons are running out of time. With their final two regular season for April 8th and 9th against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers respectively, the franchise and the player are facing a 'now or never' scenario.
What do the Brooklyn Nets do now?
Coming into this campaign the Brooklyn Nets were largely viewed as major title contenders. With that said, its easy to imagine that Simmons' continued absence is less than ideal for the team. Given how close the playoffs are the more urgent questions become, 'If Simmons can in fact be ready before the post season begins, will he be able to 1) perform at a high level after a lengthy layoff and 2) what will his chemistry with the team be like?' With the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving currently turning in brilliant performances, one might argue that it actually doesn't matter, but if the Nets are to truly realize their obvious potential come play off time, a player like Ben Simmons won't just be helpful, he'll be essential.