Ben Simmons 'Hasn't Been Able to Do Anything' in Nets Practice Despite Return Rumors

Adam WellsApril 15, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Ben Simmons watches practice before an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Amid rumors that Ben Simmons could return in the first round of the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets point guard still isn't doing anything in practice. 

Head coach Steve Nash told reporters that Simmons "hasn't been able to do anything yet" after the team wrapped up Friday's practice. 

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Thursday that Simmons is "targeting a return within Games 4-6" of the Nets' first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics. 

Simmons has been hindered by a back issue for most of the season. He initially reported having tightness in his back to Philadelphia 76ers staff members during a practice in October, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

The Nets announced in March that Simmons had an epidural for a herniated disc. They didn't offer any potential timetable for his return. 

Kevin Durant told reporters after Thursday's practice he's not expecting Simmons to play against the Celtics. 

"That's easier for me," Durant said. "I'm not putting any pressure on Ben to come out there and hoop. So I'm not expecting him to do anything but just to get his body right and get healthy as fast as he can. So in my mind, I'm preparing as if we're playing with the team we have."

Brooklyn clinched the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 115-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament Tuesday.

Simmons was acquired by the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of the James Harden trade before February's deadline. The three-time All-Star hasn't appeared in a contest since Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals on June 20, when the Sixers lost to the Atlanta Hawks. 

The Nets and Celtics will play Game 1 of their series Sunday at TD Garden at 3:30 p.m. ET.