Ben Simmons out indefinitely with nerve injury in back as Nets wrap up regular season

Ben Simmons is running out of time this season.

The Brooklyn Nets guard hasn’t played since Feb. 15 while dealing with left knee soreness. More than a month after he went down, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said Thursday that Simmons is still limited to individual work in practice.

Then on Friday, the Nets announced that Simmons had been diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back. It's unclear when, or if, Simmons will be able to return.

With just nine games left in the regular season, it’s unclear if Simmons will be healthy enough to play at all again this season — though Vaughn insists he isn’t looking that far ahead.

While that’s not ruling Simmons out the rest of the way, it’s not a good sign at this stage of the season.

Simmons has averaged 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists, all career lows, in 42 games this season, his first on the court with the Nets after missing all of last season with a back injury. He split with Klutch Sports Group earlier this month. Simmons is in the third year of a five-year, $177 million deal with the team.

Ben Simmons
Coach Jacque Vaughn has said that he believes Ben Simmons will play again in the regular season, but he's rapidly running out of time. (Brad Penner/USA Today)

Vaughn said just last week that Simmons had not sustained any setbacks with his injury, and that he was “progressing.”

“Definitely operate on the belief [that Simmons will play again this season],” Vaughn said last week, via USA Today. “There’s zero discussions about him not playing. We expect him to be back.”

The Nets enter Saturday's game against the Miami Heat having lost five straight and with a 39-34 record, which is good for seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.