Brooklyn Nets All-Star forward Ben Simmons was initially sidelined after the All-Star break due to knee soreness. But amid his recovery, Simmons suffered a flare-up in his surgically repaired back. And what was once supposed to be a short absence has turned into a 15-game hiatus for the former number-one overall pick. On March 24, the Nets medical staff reevaluated Simmons back and discovered the three-time All-Star is dealing with nerve impingement.
“Ben Simmons has been diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back after a reevaluation earlier today,” the Nets announced via the team’s official Twitter account on March 24. “He will remain out of action while we determine the best long-term course of treatment.”
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Twitter Reacts to Nets’ Ben Simmons Update
Simmons, at one point, was supposed to be one of the centerpieces of a new era in Brooklyn. But since joining the Nets last February, he has only appeared in 42 games. And with the Nets fighting for their playoff lives and no return date in sight for Simmons, fans are growing impatient. Following the team’s announcement, they took to Twitter to voice their frustration.
Insider Gets Honest on Ben Simmons’ Trade Value
Most fans want to see the Nets part ways with Simmons and move on to the next chapter. The thing is, the solution is not that simple. With Simmons only appearing in 42 games for Brooklyn, his availability has become a concern.
There is also the issue of his contract. Simmons is in the third year of a 5-year, $177 million deal he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020. And with him averaging 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, no team is likely to pay such a high price tag for such little production.
With all these factors involved, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic says trading Simmons is even “more difficult” than before.
“The Nets’ Simmons problem continues to get harder. The highest-paid player on the roster since the KD and Kyrie trades, Simmons hasn’t played since the All-Star break. Moving his contract was already going to be hard. Now it’s somehow even more difficult,” Schiffer writes.
“Simmons has a long history of back problems and had a microdiscectomy a year ago, shortly after he was traded. He’s dealt with knee soreness all year, too. The Nets have been adamant throughout his recent rehab about not shutting him down. Now it’s hard to see him back on the court for some time.”
Jacque Vaughn Gets Candid on Mikal Bridges
Simmons may be the lone All-Star on Brooklyn’s roster, but he is not the only player with star potential. One of the reasons so many Nets fans are clamoring for divorce from Simmons is that it will give Nets starter Mikal Bridges the room to let his star shine even brighter.
Since coming over from the Phoenix Suns in the Kevin Durant trade, Bridges is averaging 25.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, showing that he has the potential to be Brooklyn’s next star. But Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn says that will be a big adjustment for him moving forward.
“It takes a lot. There’s a physical piece of it because you just got to think going into (Wednesday) he’s probably going to be guarded by the No. 1 or No. 2 defender. We play Chicago, (Alex) Caruso’s guarding him, Pat Williams is guarding him, where it could have been when he was with Phoenix, Coby White could be guarding him, not as a distinguished defender compared to those two,” Vaughn told reporters on March 2 via Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.
“So, you have the physical piece of that thing then you have the mental piece of ‘Hey, dude we need you to score tonight for us to have a chance to win.’ And so, there’s a different burden that’s on you in Mikal’s instance right now of his life. It’s our job to unlock that potential and put the basketball in his hands and let him grow.”