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NBA

Ben Simmons Injury Update: Nets’ star cleared for contact

It’s been a long time coming, but it now seems that the Nets’ star is close to returning to the court once again. Is this where Brooklyn gets going?

Paul Rudder
Update:
Nets’ Ben Simmons has been cleared for contact

In the latest injury update, it now seems that the Nets’ point guard is a significant step closer to making his long awaited debut for his new team and perhaps just in time.

Nets’ Ben Simmons steps closer to return

Though he hasn’t played a single game this season, the latest news coming out of the Nets’ camp is that star guard Ben Simmons is closer than ever to returning to the floor. Simmons has officially been cleared for contact in practice and it is understood that he even participated in some four-on-four work on Monday. Nets head coach Steven Nash did make it clear, however, that Simmons would not play on Wednesday night in Game 2 of their series against the Boston Celtics, but was non-committal about his availability for Game 3 and 4, noting that it would depend on how Simmons responds to the increased work load in practice.

Simmons, has of course been fighting to return from a back injury since his move to Brooklyn from Philadelphia. In recent weeks he had been ramping up his workload and strengthening his legs and back and it was even reported on Saturday, that Simmons has been running and shooting pain-free for over a week. With his work outs having been limited to solo drills, the next step is for him to play against teammates in practice.

Nets’ Steve Nash discusses chance of Ben Simmons return

On Thursday gone the Nets’ head coach Steve Nash spoke directly about how Simmons was doing and the possibility of him returning. “It’s up to Ben’s back. It’s not up to me or any of us other than his back. And how we can help that resolve, great. But, you know, there’s a chance Ben comes back; there’s a chance he doesn’t come back,” Nash said. “So I think for us, we gotta focus on the group, support Ben in his journey to get back on the floor, but at the same time we don’t have time to lose focus on the group that’s playing. Nash continued, “And Ben’s a franchise cornerstone, but right now it’s about supporting him physically and mentally to get back on the floor and coaching the group to put its best foot forward in the first few games of the series at least. But there’s no — internally we’re not sitting here saying, ‘Ben’s returning in this series.’ We’ll see what happens.”

The Story of Ben Simmons

It was just a few months ago, when Simmons became the focal point of perhaps the biggest preseason story, after he demanded a trade from the Sixers following an embarrassing postseason loss to the Atlanta Hawks almost a year ago. Simmons at the time was heavily criticized by fans who felt that the Australian bore the brunt of the responsibility for the team’s exit. In the end his ‘request’ was granted and in exchange for James Harden on deadline day, off he went to his new team in Brooklyn. Yet that was the last we saw of the talented point guard. Due to the aforementioned back injury, Simmons has still not taken to the court for his new team and was even administered an epidural recently to alleviate the pain.

What can we expect of Ben Simmons if he faces the Celtics?

Should Simmons return during the Nets’ series with the Celtics, the question on everybody’s mind will understandably be just how much can he contribute having not played since June last year. Indeed, in anything it will first be a matter of him finding rhythm and cohesion as he attempts to gel with his new teammates. On the other hand, if he is able to give even a percentage of the All-Defensive type of performance that put him on Brooklyn’s radar in the first place, then expect the likes of of Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown of the Celtics to have much less freedom.

“We all know what type of player Ben is,” Nets star Kevin Durant said on Thursday. “You can put together scenarios in your mind on your own on what it would look like, but I’m not going to go there because we’re just taking it a game at a time.”

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