Ben Simmons injury setback casts doubt on star’s regular season return

Ben Simmons’ debut for the Brooklyn Nets may not happen this year despite coach Steve Nash’s comment that he has “very high hopes we’ll see him in the regular season.”

The 25-year-old All-Star hasn’t played since June 20 last year and according to reports, it’s unclear if the Aussie will be fit enough to return from a back injury.

The back problem plaguing Simmons drew more attention late in the season, with the Nets having just 14 regular season games left.

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Simmons was acquired at the trade deadline last month by the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden, but he has still not been cleared by medical staff to practice.

Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets greet each other during warm-ups before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers. (Getty)

At first, the Nets thought Simmons’ back problems stemmed from not playing all season, but the injury has become more serious in recent weeks. Simmons couldn’t do anything outside of individual work.

“He’s just doing his rehab, he’s getting stronger,” Nash said. “We’re still doing that side of things rather than the forensic work right now.

“The biggest thing we’ve tried to do is involve him in everything. Travel is the only caveat where sometimes you weigh the cost-benefit of him on planes and buses and different beds.

“When he’s with us, we want him in every meeting, every step, every movie, whatever, so he’s around the group. We’d like him to travel, either with the team all the time, but we also have to weigh that scenario.”

Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets watch from the bench during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers. (NBAE via Getty Images)

Nash said Simmons will not travel to Orlando with the team. Although he has been involved in team meetings, Nash admitted the longer the Aussie is out the more likely he will have to ‘learn on the fly’ once back.

“I think he has a pretty good understanding,” Nash said. “Now, was he focused on learning what we do? No, it was about getting better. We got him, we want him to learn, but he’s getting better. A lot happens when you are desperately trying to fight to get on the court.

“I don’t expect him to be fully aware of what we’re doing because some of that is felt as well; hanging out with your teammates, seeing how it fits in. I think he’ll be a perfect fit. to our guys. . But some of these things also come out and do, learning on the fly, rather than reading them in the notes.”

Speaking to the New York Post, former Orlando Magic team doctor Dr. Rahul Shah, a board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon, said he doubts Simmons will return this season.

“I don’t think that’s happening. I think the odds are against it. Think about it this way: the longer he’s out, the longer he’s likely to stay. Until you fundamentally change the issue under underlying,” he said.

“I don’t think he’s coming back [this season]. I don’t think you have anything to say that he will do it convincingly. He has to run and sprint before he can go one-on-one or five-on-five.”

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