Nets' Ben Simmons Cleared for Contact Amid Back Injury Rehab; Won't Play in Game 2

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 19, 2022

Boston - April 17: The Nets Ben Simmons is pictured working out on the court before the game. The Boston Celtics hosted the Brooklyn Nets in Game One of the NBA first round playoff series at the TD Garden in Boston on April 17, 2022. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters Tuesday that point guard Ben Simmons has been cleared for contact amid his rehab from a herniated disk in his back.

Nash added Simmons did four-on-four work Monday and that he got through it well. He also noted that Simmons will not play in Game 2 of the Nets' first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

Simmons has not seen action since June 20, 2021, when he suited up for the Philadelphia 76ers in their season-ending second-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Simmons has shown signs of progress of late after being traded from Philadelphia to the Brooklyn on Feb. 10 in a blockbuster deal that notably sent James Harden back to the 76ers.

Of note, Simmons took some shots with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant at practice Tuesday:

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell

First time we’ve seen this — KD, Kyrie and Simmons all getting some shots up at the same time after practice. <a href="https://t.co/n1QZLeXXBt">pic.twitter.com/n1QZLeXXBt</a>

Two days prior, he got in some pregame work before the Celtics beat the Nets 115-114 in Game 1 of the playoffs.

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell

Ben Simmons has been getting some dribbling exercises in here pregame for the last 20 minutes or so. These last few pregames it feels like he's been coming out early to try and get a feel for what it's like to be on an NBA floor again.

Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News provided more of Nash's insight on Simmons' recent work.

Kristian Winfield #NFTAllStar @Krisplashed

Ben Simmons did 4 on 4 yesterday and scripting—“5 on 0, running thru the plays”—today. Yesterday was Simmons’ first day of contact when he played with some teammates. Asked how Simmons’ back reacted to the contact, Nash said: “So far so good. He managed yesterdays activity well.”

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic previously reported that Simmons was looking to return sometime between Games 4-6 of the series:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons is targeting a return within Games 4-6 (April 25-29) of first round series vs. Celtics. <br><br>Discussing Simmons and more on <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a> NBA Playoff Preview Show: <a href="https://t.co/bEFYKs2ObS">https://t.co/bEFYKs2ObS</a>

The Celtics are up 1-0 after Jayson Tatum's buzzer-beating layup gave Boston the series-opening victory. Game 2 will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET at TD Garden.