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Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons cleared for contact

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The Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics delivered an instant classic over the weekend with Game 1 of their first-round series, but the matchups could soon take a very different feel as both teams approach full health.

The Celtics have been without center Robert Williams III since late March, but he’s expected to be available later in the series as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. On Brooklyn’s side, Ben Simmons is nearing his debut for the team after being traded from Philadelphia at the deadline.

It was initially reported last week that Simmons was targeting a possible Game 4 return, but had yet to participate in a live practice against his teammates. Steve Nash said on Tuesday that Simmons participated in 4-on-4 work on Monday, and has now been cleared for contact. Barring any setbacks, the path is clear for Simmons to make his first appearance for the Nets at the Barclays Center.