Currently locked in for the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, Steve Nash addressed reporters after the Brooklyn Nets practice on Monday to clear up any rumors surrounding Ben Simmons‘ return to the court.
While he participated in light shooting at practice today, Steve Nash said the three-time All-Star would remain sidelined for the rest of the regular season and the play-in tournament. While Nash remains hopeful for a Simmons return down the line in the playoffs, he would be “shocked” if he returned for the play-in.
“He’s doing some increased strengthening, some increased mobility stuff, a little bit of shooting, and that’s it,” Nash told reporters.
With only four more games left in the regular season, Simmons hasn’t arrived at the point in his rehab process where he’s participating in 1-on-1 or 3-on-3 workouts, indicating a return during the final stretch of the regular season seemed improbable. The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year has been f in street clothes since the organization announced in March that he had suffered a herniated disk in his back.
On Simmons, Steve Nash also said he doesn’t see the Nets skipping some high-intensity workouts to get him in a game given the long layoff he’s had. If he had played for most of the season it’s a different story.
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“I think in this situation, we got to put his health and safety first and make sure that we’re certain he’s ready to play and contribute,” Nash added. “And the other part is he hasn’t played basketball, so you don’t know what kind of Ben you get. And he hasn’t been in an NBA game for, you know, nine to 10 months.”
Currently sitting at 10th in the East, the Nets (40-38) would likely matchup against the Charlotte Hornets (40-38) in the play-in unless they secure two wins to capture the eighth seed, currently occupied by Atlanta (41-37). The Nets, at this point, can finish no higher than eighth in the East.