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Ben Simmons Rumors: Nets Have 'Optimism' Star Will Return from Injury Before Playoffs

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 28, 2022

Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons suffered a setback in his attempted return to the court, but there is reportedly "hope and optimism" he will return before the end of the regular season, The Athletic's Shams Charania said Monday on The Pat McAfee Show (around the 2:30 mark):

๐Ÿ…ฟ๏ธat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

What's goin on with Ben Simmons??<br><br>"He is gonna have to rehab that back but there is hope &amp; optimism that he'll be back on the floor before the playoffs" ~<a href="https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ShamsCharania</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/mOhlBaiI7m">pic.twitter.com/mOhlBaiI7m</a>

"He had a flare-up with his back, I'm told, during his ramp-up process and so now he's going to need to strengthen that back area before he can make his return to the floor," Charania explained (around the 1:50 mark). 

Simmons has not yet played in 2021-22, initially sitting out as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers because he wasn't mentally ready to compete. He was looking to make his season debut after a trade to Brooklyn this month, but the back injury has kept him sidelined.

Nets coach Steve Nash previously downplayed the issue on Saturday, telling reporters it was just "a little soreness in his back."

"It's not like an injury," Nash said. "It's just kind of like as he's returning to play, his back's flared up a little. It's not like a long-term thing."

Nash also said "conditioning" was the biggest thing keeping Simmons off the court. 

The waiting could still be damaging for the Nets, which entered Monday eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 32-29 record. Kevin Durant has been out since Jan. 15 with a knee injury and the team is just 5-14 since he went down.

Brooklyn has as much upside as any team in the NBA when everyone is active, but time could be running out to turn the potential into reality.

Even when Simmons does return, the 25-year-old could be rusty after such a long layoff from last year's postseason.    

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