Nets Rule Out Ben Simmons For Rest Of Season

The Nets have ruled Ben Simmons out for the remainder of the season, announcing today (via Twitter) that he’ll be shut down as he consults with specialists and considers treatment options for the nerve impingement in his lower back.

“Simmons, along with his representatives and Nets medical personnel, are currently in discussions with numerous experts to determine the course of action that will provide him with the best opportunity for long-term sustainable health,” the team said in its statement.

Simmons will finish the 2023/24 season having appeared in just 15 games. He averaged 6.1 points, 5.7 assists, and 7.9 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per contest.

It’s the third straight season in which Simmons’ availability and production has been extremely limited due to his back issues.

Following his holdout in 2021/22 and the trade that sent from Philadelphia to Brooklyn, the former No. 1 overall pick was unable to suit up for the Nets that season due to back pain and eventually underwent a microdiscectomy in the spring of 2022 in order to relieve the pain from a herniated disc.

Simmons returned in 2022/23 and appeared in 42 games for Brooklyn, but admitted later that he hadn’t fully recovered from the procedure on his back and was in pain for much of the season. Coming into ’23/24, he was optimistic about his health, indicating last August that he was eager to “come back and dominate.”

However, the nerve impingement in his back cost Simmons nearly three months early in the season and remained a problem even after he returned in January. Agent Bernie Lee spoke earlier this week about his efforts to find the right treatment to get his client past this lingering injury.

“We continue to try and find non-surgical options to allow Ben to move forward on a permanent basis and that is where this is my responsibility and I am (the) one to blame,” Lee said. “When I began working with Ben I made a commitment to him that I would do everything I could to find the right answers and specialists for him to work with (in order) to move forward from the issues he has been having. Clearly it hasn’t happened, and that’s my responsibility.

“… Come the offseason, we’re going to implement some processes and outside input that’ll allow him to finally move forward from this ongoing issue and resume his career at the levels he’s established prior to being injured.”

A three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, Simmons is still just 27 years old, so if he can get healthy, he still has the potential to be one of the NBA’s better play-makers and defenders. However, physical and mental health issues have derailed his career since 2020/21 and have made his maximum-salary contract a cumbersome asset on Brooklyn’s books.

Simmons will be entering the final year of his current deal in 2024/25. He’s on track to earn $40,338,144 before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency.

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