Ben Simmons is suffering from an irritation of the L-4 disc in his lower spine, according to Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. It doesn’t appear he’ll be back any time soon, but Nets officials are hoping he can play a “couple” of games before the regular season ends.
Simmons received an epidural treatment for back pain while the team was in Orlando this week, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN (Twitter link). Doctors hope the injection will help ease the discomfort and speed up his return to the court.
Coach Steve Nash added that there’s still no timeline for Simmons to begin practicing, as the team has to see how he responds to the epidural. Nash said he remains hopeful that Simmons will be available before the playoffs start (Twitter link).
After acquiring him from the Sixers last month, the Nets originally set Friday’s game against the Trail Blazers as a target date for Simmons’ debut, sources tell Shelburne and Wojnarowski. However, that became unrealistic because he couldn’t get through more than a day or two of rehab without pain affecting his lower back.
Simmons continues to get treatment and is working to strengthen the affected area, the authors add. He has done some basketball activities in a 1-on-0 setting, but nothing more.
Nash admitted over the weekend that Simmons still isn’t ready for 1-on-1 games and has a long way to go before progressing to a 5-on-5 setting. The Nets have 13 games left in the season and at 36-33 are trying to climb into sixth place to avoid the play-in tournament.