Nets' Ben Simmons expected to make return to court Monday

NBA: Preseason-Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers
NBA: Preseason-Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers

Ben Simmons, who played in just six games for the Brooklyn Nets this season before being sidelined by a left lower back nerve impingement, is set to return to the court Monday against Utah.

Simmons is officially listed as "probable" for Monday night's contest. He practiced Saturday with the Nets' G-League affiliate and came out of that well, leading Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn to say it was likely Simmons played Monday.

Simmons has missed 38 games since the injury flared up. In the six he did play, he averaged 6.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists a game, but remained limited because of his shooting — Simmons did not attempt any 3-pointers and got to the free throw line four times total (making one).

Simmons' injury issues this season echo last season, when he played in 42 games for Brooklyn. Simmons is making $37.9 million this season and is fully guaranteed for $40.3 million next season. That salary plus his injury history make trading him not an option for Brooklyn, which would have to add considerable sweeteners to any deal.