As the playoffs draw closer, there is still no firm timetable when it comes to Ben Simmons' return to game action for the Brooklyn Nets. Simmons has yet to play in a game this season, and he has been dealing with a back injury since he was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers by Brooklyn last month.
On Monday, Nets head coach Steve Nash confirmed that Simmons received an epidural in his back to deal with pain from a herniated disc. "There was some relief, but I don't know how much or if it's a total success," Nash said. At this point, surgery has not been discussed as an option, at least as far as Nash knows.
This latest update comes after Nash told reporters on Sunday that Simmons is currently not doing any basketball activity. Instead, he is working with the team's medical staff to continue rehabbing his back injury.
"The physical therapist just works on his rehabilitation," Nash said. "I wasn't on [the table] working on him. They do what they do in a clinical setting and try to improve his condition. ... A lot of bio-mechanical work, manual therapy, all sorts of stuff to get him in a position to start to move in the right sequence and fashion."
Despite the setback, Nash said he is still "fully expecting" to have Simmons on the court this season. When that will be, however, remains unclear. Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Nets are hopeful that Simmons can play "a couple" of regular-season games
Initially, the Nets were targeting their matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, March 18 as a potential return date for Simmons, but that has been pushed back indefinitely due to setbacks in his rehab. Simmons recently received an epidural in order to limit pain.
Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons has remained sidelined with an irritation of the L-4 disc of the lower spine, but there's hope he can return for a "couple" of regular games prior to the Eastern Conference playoffs, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The Nets are hopeful that Simmons can return to play in regular season games prior to a postseason likely to begin in the play-in tournament in mid-April. The Nets play the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers in their two final regular season games on April 8 and 10, respectively, prior to the start of the play-in tournament that week.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said recently that the organization is taking the situation one day at a time.
"Although there's no real timetable, we've got to take it day by day and see how he responds," Marks said. "And hopefully sooner the better. We need to get this group together and get minutes together on the court."
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Obviously, Simmons' inability to get out on the court isn't ideal for a Nets team that has championship aspirations. At this point, even if he does return for a few regular-season games, Simmons won't have a real opportunity to develop any sort of chemistry with his new teammates before the playoffs start.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have both been playing at an elite level in order to keep the Nets in the thick of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, but ultimately they'll need help if they're going to make a deep run. Simmons is supposed to be that help, so the sooner he can get out on the floor for Brooklyn, the better.