Ben Simmons ready for season debut with the Nets in Game 4 vs. Celtics

2022-04-21 16:20
Credit: AP-Scanpix

Brooklyn Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons plans to make his season debut in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics on Monday as long as rehab remains on course, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.

It would be Simmons' first game since June 2021 in the playoffs as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. 

He sat out the first part of the season in a dispute with the 76ers. Since a trade-deadline deal to the Nets in February, Simmons hasn't played because of a back injury.

Ben Simmons

Ben  Simmons
Team: Brooklyn Nets
Position: SF, PF
Age: 25
Height: 208 cm
Weight: 104 kg
Birth place: Australia

But ESPN reported Simmons potentially could be cleared to play Saturday in Game 3, based on the Nets' policy for injured players that requires three contact practices before playing in a game. Simmons held up to contact Monday, head coach Steve Nash said, and was expected to participate in a contact workout and play 4-on-4 on Wednesday.

So far, the best-of-seven series has seen the Celtics lead 2-0.

"I wouldn't be able to say anything about (Game 3 availability)," Nash said."

"We have to also consider it's a nine-month absence or whatever it is, so it's not just like he had a six-week absence, so I think this is a pretty unique scenario. It's not as linear as maybe the other kind of in-season injuries."

 

Nash said the Nets used the barometer of three contact practices in returning Kevin Durant to game action from a leg injury earlier this season, but he pointed out the stark contrasts in those scenarios. Not to mention the challenge of returning for a team debut in the midst of a heated playoff series with the Celtics.

Nash said he believes Simmons can "physically adapt" to live-action. Being assured he's otherwise ready is also part of the equation.

The Australian big man played primarily with the ball in his hands with the 76ers in a playmaking role. He's spending time daily with shooting coach Kyle Korver to improve his range and touch, Nash said.

 

In four previous seasons, Simmons has had five career 3-pointers and 34 attempts, which underscores the idea that he's not the typical NBA guard.

Simmons, 25, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game with the 76ers.



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