Nets on Ben Simmons: 'He's probably not going to join us for the rest of the year'
Nets confirm Ben Simmons likely out for remainder of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets do happen to meet in the first round of the playoffs, don't expect to see Ben Simmons.
The oft-injured Nets guard and former Sixer, who has missed the last 15 games, was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back on Friday. Speculation that Simmons would miss the remainder of the season essentially was confirmed on Saturday by Nets coach Jacque Vaughn.
"He's probably not going to join us for the rest of the year, in all honesty," Vaughn told reporters prior to the Nets' game against the Miami Heat.
Simmons missed all of last season, sitting out before requesting a trade from the 76ers, then nursing injuries after being acquired by the Nets in a package for James Harden.
The 26-year-old Simmons has been sidelined this season by knee and back injuries, having last played in the Nets' final game before the All-Star break on Feb. 15. He has played in just 42 games this season, making nine appearances off the bench. The three-time All-Star is averaging career lows of 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game.
Simmons is owed $37.9 million next season and $40.3 million in 2024-25.
The first overall pick in the 2016 draft, Simmons has averaged 14.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists in his career.
With nine games remaining in the regular season, the 39-34 Nets sit in the seventh spot in the East entering Saturday's showdown with the Heat, who they trail by a half game as they look to finish sixth or better to avoid the play-in tournament.
They’ll have to do so without Simmons.
“Right now, he’s really under the care of consulting with specialists to see what the next step is going to be going forward,” Vaughn told reporters. “For me as a coach, there are some things that I can control, some things that I can’t control. What I can’t control is the impingement. What I can control is getting this group ready to play.”