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.
Ben Simmons Medical Update: pic.twitter.com/kRcxsjrHLG
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 24, 2023
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.
Ben Simmons still not doing any team work, only individual work. Asked if it's even feasible to get Simmons up to speed in the ten games they have left before the postseason, Jacque Vaughn says he's not looking that far ahead. #Nets
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) March 23, 2023
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.
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.