Ben Simmons injury update, Brooklyn Nets, return, details

To hear Ben Simmons tell it, there’s not much concern about his condition.

“I feel great,” Simmons said after practice.

Simple and easy. Like.

Heading into the next game in Toronto, Simmons has been inactive for five of the Nets’ last seven games, including four in a row from Nov. 30-Dec. 7 when he was dealing with knee pain and a calf strain.

Sat, Dec 17

Saturday December 17

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Ben Simmons has spent time on the sidelines. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP)Source: AFP

The Nets were always going to bring Simmons in slowly this season, placing him at the second straight end as a result of time spent last season, first when he was holding out in Philadelphia and then with a back injury being traded to Brooklyn.

At least publicly, the Nets haven’t put a hard limit on Simmons’ minutes, but they are paying close attention to how much he plays, trying to massage him into being healthy when games count the most.

“I think we’ve continued to increase his minutes, but not to the point where it’s too many,” coach Jacque Vaughn said, referring to both Simmons and TJ Warren, who recently returned from injury of his own. “And so we want both guys to be healthy at the end of the year.

“So we have to be smart about how we use those guys going forward, whether it’s consecutively how we use those minutes, whether it’s how many minutes they play in a single game. I think we have enough depth to use his minutes judiciously and be able to play at the pace we want and still play hard.”

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Simmons naturally wants to play as much as possible. That creates a bit of a tug-of-war, though the player acknowledges that he is a biased party and may not be the best person to make the final decision.

“I’m not a doctor, bro,” Simmons said. “I don’t make that decision. I can only tell you how I feel, but at the same time I am going to trust your decision and what you think is best for me.”

“You have this honest conversation about what is too much,” Vaughn said. “I think early on, we wanted to keep pushing Ben to play as many games as possible and grow with the group on the court. I think we learned that maybe we pushed a little too hard, and for a guy who hadn’t played in a long time. So I think sometimes you learn by going through the situation and [get] smarter on the other side, hopefully.”

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Partly as a result of playing just 19 games this season, Simmons is still searching for his fit with the Nets. The talent that made him the No. 1 overall pick inadvertently is still there, but much of the narrative around Simmons has focused on his flaws, and for obvious reasons. Vaughn wants to find a way to make it work.

“He’s so unique,” Vaughn said.

“Who are you going to have on the court with him, what is the space going to look like, what is he going to look like with the basketball in his hands, where will he be without the basketball in his hands. So we’re always trying to put him in a position to be successful. And we’re still playing with it, where he is.”

They may be playing a bit more, but Vaughn projected some optimism that their workload might not be as limited in the future, perhaps even when the Nets play back-to-back games on Jan. 19.

“I think we want all of our guys to play in every game,” Vaughn said. “So yeah, we want to work to get all of our guys fit to play back-to-back.”

This article first appeared on the new york post officeand was reproduced with permission.

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