When Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited departure from the Philadelphia 76ers, as part of the trade that saw the Australian move to the Brooklyn Nets, there were some who felt that deal represented a new chapter in his career, but it appears his NBA career is just as stalled as it was when he was at the Wells Fargo Center.
The last time the 25-year-old played an NBA game was way back last June during the play-offs, during which time he suffered a great deal of criticism for his limp displays as the 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Nets would have hoped to have Simmons available for some point of the season, but that seems unlikely following news that he has a herniated disc in his back. Brooklyn started the season as the hot favorite to win the NBA title, but if you look on Sidelines, the odds comparison service, you can see that Steve Kerr’s side is now behind the Phoenix Suns in the betting.
Simmons missed the first half of the season while at the 76ers and ran up fines of over $19m after refusing to pay for Philadelphia, and a move to the Nets was a chance to start over again, but that may not be happening on the court any time soon.
He has yet to be cleared to practice, and it may now not be until next year before fans of the Brooklyn Nets get to see the undoubtedly talented but troubled player playing again.
Kerr opened up about the issue ahead of the Nets’ recent defeat to the Utah Jazz, stating;
“He’s had this a couple of years ago, so he’s had [herniated disks] throughout his career at some points,”
“And I guess there was a flare-up. I’m not sure when they recognized it was beyond a back flare-up and a herniated disk or whatnot, but somewhere along the line there, that was the reason for the epidural.”
“From what I know, he trained pretty hard for five, six months,”
“He was in a great place. Unfortunately, I think there was a little flare-up at some point in there, and it’s just never quite turned the corner since. I think he had months of five, six days a week on court and was doing very well, so just unfortunate, but we stayed the course. And hopefully a good resolution to this in the near future.” Nash added.
By all accounts, Simmons is relatively upbeat, despite the injury issues, and is no doubt keen to put his time at the Philadelphia 76ers behind him. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has also discussed the situation;
“I don’t have any advice for him,”
“He understands what he needs to do — he’s a pro. I think he just needs to know we support him, and we want him to get healthy. We don’t want him to rush, even though we want to play with him badly. We don’t want him to rush. No, I don’t have any advice outside of ‘Take your time and get right.”
In an ideal world, Simmons may be back in action for any potential playoff action that the Nets find themselves taking part in, but either way, Kerr will hope that the new arrival can make a positive impact at the Barclays Center.