In an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Thursday morning, Brian Windhorst said that there’s a real chance Ben Simmons could make his Nets debut at some point during the team’s first-round series vs. Boston (video link).
“I am told that Ben Simmons is targeting Games 4, 5, or 6 for making his Brooklyn Nets debut,” said Windhorst, who added that he was “taken aback” when he received that information. “My response was, ‘Is he even playing 5-on-5 yet?’ And the answer to that is no, but the hope is by the end of the week he can ramp up to that.
“… It’s a big ask, but I have to say that really for seven (or) eight weeks now, I’ve heard nothing but pessimism on the Ben Simmons front and that has switched dramatically in the last few days.”
Shams Charania of The Athletic has also reported that a first-round return is a possibility for Simmons. When asked on Wednesday about Charania’s report, head coach Steve Nash pumped the brakes a little, telling reporters that there’s still no set timeline for Simmons’ debut. However, Nash did say the three-time All-Star has been making “heavier progress” in the last week, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
“He’s moving more, he’s shooting, he’s starting to move a little bit on the court in a one-on-zero environment,” Nash said. “So definitely positive signs that it’s improving and moving and all those things. But like I said he hasn’t been running full speed or playing against anybody, so still a lot more markers to meet.”
Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:
- Jamal Murray‘s potential return from ACL surgery is in the “red zone,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said during an appearance on 92.5 FM Altitude Sports in Denver, meaning a decision will likely be made soon (Twitter link via Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports). A first-round return remains possible for Murray, who is still ahead of Michael Porter Jr. in the rehab process, according to Connelly.
- Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said on Wednesday that he hasn’t closed the door on Murray returning in the first round, but “would lean more towards him being doubtful” for the club’s series vs. Golden State, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post relays.
- Appearing today on Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said he remains comfortable with the four- to six-week timeline the team initially announced for Robert Williams‘ recovery (Twitter link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston). Williams is progressing well, according to Stevens, but still hasn’t been cleared for contact and has “a ways to go.”
- Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber missed the last four games of the regular season due to right ankle soreness, but went through a full practice on Wednesday and said he feels “100% better,” writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.