Ben Simmons Rumors: Star Told Nets of 'Mental Block' That Could Impact Back Injury

Adam WellsApril 26, 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

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons' lingering back problems could be tied to the mental health issues he has been dealing with dating back to last season. 

Per The Athletic's Shams Charania, during a Monday meeting after Simmons was ruled out of Game 4 of Brooklyn's playoff series against the Boston Celtics, the three-time All-Star told team officials there is "a mental block" that exists for him and it "is creating stress that could serve as a trigger point for his back issues."

The Nets officially ruled Simmons out for Game 4 due to back soreness and return to competition reconditioning. 

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons and the Nets had previously "discussed at length" a plan for him to play in Tuesday's game before he informed the team of back soreness. 

According to Charania, Simmons told Nets officials at the meeting he "does want to play basketball and play for the Nets as he works on solutions in regard to his well-being."

Nets officials told Simmons they are "willing to do whatever is needed to support him and provide him with any necessary resources" to help him.

Tuesday would have been the first game Simmons played since June 20, 2021, when the Philadelphia 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

During training camp in October, Wojnarowski reported Simmons told the Sixers he needed to step away because he wasn't mentally ready to play.  He also informed the team that he was having back tightness. 

Philadelphia eventually traded Simmons to the Nets prior to the trade deadline on Feb. 10. Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash told reporters in March that Simmons had an epidural for a herniated disc in his back. 

The Nets were trailing 3-0 in their series against the Celtics before it was announced Simmons would miss Tuesday's game. They lost 116-112 in Game 4, ending their season in the first round. 

Simmons' physical and mental health will be a significant storyline for the Nets this offseason. The LSU alum has three years and $113.7 million remaining on his contract. 

The 25-year-old has been an impact player on both ends of the court throughout his NBA career. He has averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists in 275 career games.