The Nets have dominated embattled star ahead Ben Simmons out for the rest of the 12 months, head coach Jacque Vaughn mentioned after Nets observe on Tuesday, ending a months-long charade revolving across the standing of the oft-injured former All-Star.
Simmons had missed all 17 video games popping out of the Feb. 15-24 NBA All-Star break as a consequence of a mixture of left knee and decrease again soreness. The Nets introduced Simmons could be out as a consequence of a nerve impingement on March 24, adopted by Vaughn’s definitive ruling of out for the rest of the season and the playoffs on Tuesday.
“After consulting with our doctors, multiple specialists, he’s just gonna begin a rehab program,” he mentioned as gamers cleared the courts on the HSS Training Facility in Industry City after Nets observe. “Our doctors and the specialists feel and think that he’ll have a full recovery, so that starts now.”
Vaughn mentioned surgical procedure has not been mentioned as an choice for Simmons, who has undergone two procedures on his decrease again within the final 12 months and alter. He acquired an epidural to assist alleviate ache in his decrease again final March, then underwent a microdiscectomy through the low season when that epidural failed.
“Recommended right now and by the doctors, [surgery] is not in sight,” Vaughn mentioned. “That’s the recommendation right now.”
Vaughn beforehand mentioned Simmons was engaged on strengthening each his knee and again in an effort to get again on the court docket, however that the nerve impingement occurred throughout that course of.
“So that started this next layer of going to see specialists,” he continued. “That was kind of the sequence of the strengthening, which took part to get him to reassessing, which the reassessing got him to specialists. That’s how we got to today.”
Simmons additionally had fluid drained from his knee through the All-Star break, for the second time this season, and likewise acquired a platelet-rich plasma injection to assist pace up the restoration course of throughout the identical break. He appeared in 42 of 58 attainable video games previous to the All-Star break and averaged 6.9 factors, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per recreation by means of his first season in Brooklyn.
Those are hardly the form of numbers, nonetheless, that earned Simmons three All-Star appearances and two nods on the NBA’s First All-Defensive Team.
Simmons was as soon as a pressure on each ends of the ground, a former No. 1 general choose whose distinctive mix of measurement, athleticism and court docket imaginative and prescient earned him a title as one of the crucial dynamic level forwards in all of basketball.
He averaged 15.9 factors, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per recreation by means of his first 4 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers earlier than holding out the primary half of the 2021-22 season with the Sixers as a consequence of psychological well being points. When he arrived in Brooklyn as a part of the James Harden commerce, the again points started to flare as a part of his ramp-up in conditioning after lacking the primary half of the 12 months.
As a consequence, the Nets have by no means gotten a 100% wholesome Simmons. Vaughn mentioned the group believes the oft-injured star ahead can clear this hurdle and return to the participant he as soon as was.
“That’s our goal. And overall you just think about, he’s 6-10, athletic, what he can do and bring to our team, how he can help our group on both ends of the floor,” he mentioned. “We want to be involved in that. We want to see that. I want to coach Ben and I want to be able to push Ben to get back to all-defensive team and impact our team on both ends of the floor. So that’s definitely the goal going forward.”
It’s an anticlimactic finish for each the Nets and Simmons, particularly given Simmons by no means actually discovered his footing on the court docket — not with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving within the entrance half of the season, and by no means within the second half as he’s been marred by damage.
Vaughn had been crucial of Simmons’ influence, or lack thereof, in video games on a variety of events. He moved Simmons to a bench position and decreased his workload within the video games main into the All-Star break. In his last 5 video games of the season, Simmons averaged simply 3.6 factors, 3.8 rebounds and three.6 rebounds, with Vaughn explaining intimately after a lopsided loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden why discovering lineups that play to Simmons’ strengths is a problem.
“You put another big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him,” Vaughn mentioned after the Nets’ 18-point loss at The Garden on Feb. 13. “Then, for those who put one other playmaker subsequent to him, then you definitely received to determine what Ben appears like with out the basketball. Then for those who go small with Ben, then it’s a must to work out are you able to rebound sufficient with him?
“So the challenges are ahead of us. We’ll look them head on. We’ll figure it out. We have the personnel to figure it out. Whether it is me mixing and matching throughout different pieces of the game, and allowing him to have a group and run with a group, that part we’ll figure out, but you see the challenges that lie ahead.”
It was an anticlimactic finish for an additional motive: The Nets and Simmons went on this rodeo final season.
When they acquired Simmons on the commerce deadline, the messaging from the workforce was that Simmons was doing all the things he may to return to the ground, which lingered nicely into the playoffs till the Nets scratched the ahead as a consequence of again soreness on the final second forward of Game 4 within the first spherical towards the Boston Celtics.
This time, Vaughn mentioned on not less than 4 totally different events that the Nets had zero conversations about shutting Simmons down for the remainder of the season — just for the workforce to rule him out formally on Tuesday, with seven video games remaining on the schedule.
Simmons is beneath contract for 2 extra seasons. He is due $77M mixed by means of the 2024-25 NBA season.