When the Brooklyn Nets acquired Ben Simmons at the NBA Trade Deadline the expectation was that he would return to playing sooner rather than later.
There was talk of a week or two being needed for him to get ready, but that was it.
Then last week, something changed. Nets head coach Steve Nash suddenly came out and expressed that Simmons’ return wasn’t anywhere on the horizon. What was once a rosy outlook regarding his inevitable comeback was suddenly shrouded in doubt and questions.
On Monday, more troubling details emerged regarding Simmons.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Simmons is battling a reoccurring back injury. One that neither he nor the Nets anticipated would be a problem when the trade was made, but has suddenly turned into a full-blown issue.
“Simmons is dealing with a herniated disc in his back and although his return to action this season is uncertain, he wants to be back on the floor as soon as he can, sources tell The Athletic. Simmons, who had an epidural injection last week to relieve the soreness, has dealt with back issues dating back to February 2020 when he missed time due to a nerve impingement,” Charania wrote.
“As Nets general manager Sean Marks said recently, Simmons’ return this season has been delayed due to the back. Then, a target return of March 18 against the Portland Trail Blazers was missed as the back issues persisted.”
This is awful news for the Nets. Yes, everyone on the roster seemed to hate James Harden. And yes, he is already having issues with the Philadelphia 76ers. But at least he was able to play.
Who knows what would have happened had Brooklyn forced him to stay pat through the NBA Trade Deadline? Maybe having nowhere to go would have resulted in him finally being able to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court on a consistent basis. And if that had occurred, maybe winning would’ve solved everything.
A gamechanger for college basketball. https://t.co/WtFvJ5unth
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 21, 2022
Instead, the Nets lost Harden for a guy who, at this point, may end up not playing at all this season.
Hopefully this situation works out for all parties involved. But at the moment, it’s certainly not looking good for Brooklyn or Simmons.