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No timetable on Ben Simmons ramp-up, return will depend on physical and mental readiness

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Madison Quisenberry/NBAE via Getty Images

For the first time since Thursday’s trade became official and the physicals of each of the five players in the blockbuster trade deadline deal cleared, Ben Simmons joined his new teammates on the hardwood Monday morning. The appearance marked the first steps in Simmons’ ramp-up program with Brooklyn.

In addressing Simmons physical and mental readiness, Steve Nash was non-committal on a timetable for Simmons’ highly anticipated return, but said that he expected that the three-time All-Star would be ready mentally when he is physically ready.

“I think he’s in a pretty good state mentally,” said Nash of Simmons. “If we work with him in conjunction to his physical ramp-up to make sure he’s comfortable on and off the floor, I think he’ll be ready to play mentally when he’s physically ready.”

Simmons’ mental health had been an issue in Philadelphia. After the star requested a trade from the Sixers in the off-season, it was reported that Simmons wasn’t mentally prepared to take the court at least in Philadelphia.

As for his readiness on the physical side of things, that will be determined by the performance team, said the head coach. Nash admitted that he hasn’t seen what Simmons looks like physically yet.

“That’s on the performance team,” said Nash when asked about a timetable on Simmons ramp-up. “They’re going to walk through an assessment in his return to play, ramp-up and all that. It’s been a long period of non-NBA activity. We’ll see how they put his program together and how long it takes.”

Before being dealt to Brooklyn in the final hours of the trade deadline, Simmons had been working out with a group of his own trainers and was reportedly in great physical shape ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne wrote earlier this month.

“By all accounts, he is in great physical shape,” Shelburne wrote. Of course, he hasn’t played since last June in the conference semi-finals.

When asked whether the ramp-up would end based on Simmons giving the Nets a green light, Nash stated it’ll be a “joint decision” among himself, Simmons, the performance team and staff.

“I think it’s a joint decision. We have to put him in a decision to have the necessary conditioning underneath him and to feel safe with it. He also has to feel confident and comfortable when the time comes,” Nash said. “Whenever that is, hopefully, there’s a great partnership on those decisions.”

Last season, before his shooting issues in the playoffs because a cause celebe in Philly, Simmons had been named an All-Star and first team All-Defense, finishing second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting to Rudy Gobert.