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February 28, 2022

Report says Nets 'hope' Ben Simmons will play before playoffs after setback

Ben Simmons is dealing with a back injury that could keep him out for a few weeks longer

Sixers NBA

A few months after Eagles fans got to relish in the schadenfreude of Carson Wentz collapsing in Indianapolis, Sixers fans may get to live yet another best case scenario after trading Ben Simmons to the Nets a few weeks ago.

Everyone saw how good James Harden has been on the floor during each of the Sixers' last two wins, and Philly looks like a true title contender with Joel Embiid continuing his MVP caliber play.

Many thought the Harden for Simmons swap was a good trade for both sides, and it very well may wind up being a fair exchange in a few years — but right now, it appears that the Nets may have gotten fleeced.

After news broke that Simmons was dealing with a back injury that might have him out for a week or so, lining up his potential debut with the Nets in Philadelphia on March 10, it was reported today by The Athletic's Shams Charania that Simmons could be out even longer than that. 

Here's what he had to say on an appearance on the Pat McAfee show. 

If you don't feel like watching, here's a bit of what he had to say:

"There was the expectation by now that he would be on the cusp of his comeback, but that's probably not going to be the case because he had a flair up in his back during, I am told during his ramp up process so he is going to need to strengthen that back before he can make his return to the floor. You saw Draymond Green, he will have been out for two months for the same thing...

"The back is tricky and so Ben Simmons, it could take him a few weeks, it could take him a week. You never know with the back. I think there is hope and optimism that at some point before the end of the regular season he will be back on the floor. 

For the Sixers, what we are seeing now is the best case scenario..."

No one wants Simmons to be hurt. But his snail's pace to get back on the hardwood makes some sense. Depending on how much conditioning and practicing you believe the former No. 1 overall pick did during his "holdout" with the Sixers for the last five or so months, Simmons is going to have to get to top form quickly and without any preseason or low stakes early season games to help him find his groove.

The Nets are currently stuck in eighth place in the East, and look to be destined for the NBA's play-in round. Kevin Durant now appears likely to return before Simmons does which could help their seeding a bit.

With the Sixers in the 3-spot right now and playing some of their best basketball, all the makings are there for a first or second round bout between Philly and Brooklyn. Many, like our own Kyle Neubeck, believe that Simmons would have been better off playing in the March 10 game to get a Philadelphia return overweigh but that doesn't appear to be possible now.

So far, Daryl Morey won the trade. And for Sixers fans it couldn't feel better. We'll have to see if a full strength Ben Simmons is able to contribute to Brooklyn this year and make things a little less one-sided.

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