Ben Simmons met with Nets to discuss physical, mental hurdles keeping him out of games: report

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Nets Ben Simmons holding ball over head warmup gear
Nets Ben Simmons holding ball over head warmup gear

Ben Simmons won’t be on the floor for the Nets in a do-or-die Game 4 against the Boston Celtics on Monday night due to a nagging back injury, but according to a recent report it may be more than that.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons and CEO of Klutch Sports Rich Paul met with general manager Sean Marks and Nets leadership Monday to discuss how both sides can work through the star's recent struggles moving forward.

According to ESPN, Simmons reiterated his desire to play for the Nets and both parties believe the former No. 1 overall pick had two good weeks of ramp-up through Sunday, which would have had him ready for Game 4 before there was another setback. Both sides ultimately realized there are still mental and physical hurdles that need addressing before Simmons can get on the court.

Simmons’ last game played was for the Philadelphia 76ers in their Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs last June. After a poor performance in that series, and the city turning against him, the 25-year-old requested a trade. In October, Simmons informed the 76ers that he wasn’t mentally ready to play and needed time.

Those mental hurdles were a topic of discussion when the Nets acquired Simmons in the James Harden trade back in February.

"If I knew, I would tell you everything,'' Simmons said in his Nets introductory news conference regarding his mental health battle. "But there's just a lot of things internally that had happened over time, and it just got to a place where I don't think it was good for me mentally. So, it is what it is. It happened and I'm moving forward.''

After reports that Simmons could be ready in the Nets’ first-round series came to light, Simmons said it was "reasonable" to believe he could play Game 4, but those hopes were dashed Sunday.

Simmons taking the floor this postseason is looking less and less likely, but if the team has any hopes to see him they’ll have to stave off elimination when they host the Celtics on Monday night at 7 p.m. in Brooklyn.