The Brooklyn Nets traded for Ben Simmons with the hope that he would help bring them closer to winning a championship. Now they are just hoping he can actually get on the court at some point. After Simmons was seemingly slated to return in Game 4 of Brooklyn's first-round series vs. Boston, which would've been his Nets and season debut, he was surprisingly ruled out after he informed team officials that the herniated disc in his back had turned up sore after a workout.
Unfortunately, Simmons' herniated disc is now going to require surgery -- a microdiscectomy procedure, to be specific -- to alleviate pain in the disc, the Nets announced on Wednesday.
Simmons successfully underwent surgery on Thursday, and he will have a three-week recovery period before beginning rehab, the Nets said. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Simmons is expected to need three to four months of recovery time and should return "well ahead of training camp," but at this point we should all probably be in wait-and-see mode. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Simmons told the Nets that a "mental block exists for him, dating in part to last summer's postseason, which is creating stress that could serve as a trigger point for his back issues."
So this isn't just a physical situation.
Simmons "added that he does want to play basketball and play for the Nets as he works on solutions in regard to his well-being," according to Charania. Simmons is a person first, obviously. He's struggling mentally, and he needs and should get the time that he needs to work that out. Hopefully he can find a way to do so.
After that, Simmons is a basketball player with a bad back. A basketball player for which the Nets traded James Harden. It's fair to wonder whether the Nets knew the full extent of Simmons' back issue when they made the trade, but that's water under the bridge now. Moving forward, the Nets are hoping for Simmons to get his mental and physical being back on track in time for a fresh start next season.