Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons could still return for his team's first-round matchup against the Boston Celtics if the series extends beyond Game 4, head coach Steve Nash told reporters Monday.
Nash added that he doesn't expect Simmons to need surgery for the herniated disk in his back that has limited him in recent months.
Simmons' status was a major storyline throughout the 2021-22 season, which started with him on the Philadelphia 76ers. He said he wasn't mentally ready to play at first in Philadelphia, and a back injury kept him sidelined after the 76ers traded him to Brooklyn.
It appeared as if the 25-year-old would make his first appearance of the campaign Monday in Game 4 of the Nets' first-round series against the Celtics, but he was ruled out in what Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium called a "surprise."
The Nets' season would come to an end if they lose the game.
A win Monday would keep their playoff hopes alive while providing another opportunity for Simmons to make his debut.
While shooting concerns are an issue with Simmons when he does play, he is still a game-changing two-way presence with three All-Star selections and two All-Defensive team nods on his resume.
Yet the Nets were missing that type of impact this season after acquiring him in the trade that sent James Harden to Philadelphia.