Ben Simmons Rumors: Conflicting Reports on Nets Star's Playoff Status amid Injury

Doric SamApril 1, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets warms up before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 10, 2022 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons' status for the postseason is uncertain due to his back injury. 

Per The Athletic's Joe Vardon, Simmons is "not close" to playing and is unlikely to be ready for the start of the playoffs.

However, Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported Simmons may be ready before the postseason:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

The latest on the potential ramp up of Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons: <a href="https://t.co/p7LbIc6KHU">pic.twitter.com/p7LbIc6KHU</a>

Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters on March 21 that the 25-year-old was dealing with a herniated disk in his back that required an epidural, but the team was optimistic he'd be able to take the floor at some point this season.

Simmons was acquired at this year's trade deadline as part of the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. He hasn't appeared in an NBA game since Game 7 of the Sixers' second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks last year on June 20.

Prior to being traded, Simmons took time away from Philadelphia while citing a need to address his mental health. Since arriving in Brooklyn, he had participated in individual workouts but hadn't practiced with the team before his back injury flared up.

A three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive first-team selection, the Australian was expected to fit right in alongside Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Despite the team's 40-37 record, Brooklyn has a roster that, on paper, can compete for an NBA title.

But it's been difficult to get the roster together successfully. The Nets have struggled to find consistency this season because of multiple injuries to key players. Durant missed a chunk of the season with a sprained MCL, and Joe Harris hasn't played since Nov. 14 due to an ankle issue. Irving has also missed significant time because he refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccine which resulted in him being away from the team at the start of the season and then later only playing in road games until March 24 when New York City's vaccine mandate was changed.

If Simmons is able to return to the floor, he could be the missing piece Brooklyn needs to make a playoff run. But if he remains out, it will be hard for the Nets to compete with the elite teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets are assured of at least making the play-in tournament, though their odds of getting into the top six in the Eastern Conference are very slim. They trail the Toronto Raptors for the No. 6 seed by 4.5 games with five games remaining in the regular season. 

Brooklyn (40-37) trails the Cleveland Cavaliers by two games for the seven seed. It is tied with the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks for the eight seed.