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Steve Nash downplays severity of Ben Simmons injury: ‘a little soreness in his back’

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Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Saturday evening that Ben Simmons is dealing with “back soreness” in his reconditioning ramp-up process. The report did not detail any timetable for the 25-year-old star’s return and it’s unclear whether Simmons will reach conditioning benchmarks needed for him to be available when the Nets travel to Philadelphia on March 10.

During a TNT broadcast Friday night, Ian Eagle mentioned that Simmons was dealing with a back issue. Shortly after The Athletic report was tweeted out, the Nets head coach, Steve Nash, confirmed the news but downplayed the severity of Simmons’ back issue, characterizing it as “little soreness in his back” that was developed in his ramp-up.

“I just saw the reports. It’s been the same process. It’s just a little soreness in his back,” the Nets head coach said during his pregame presser Saturday evening. “It’s not like an injury. It’s just as he’s returning to play, his back has flared up a little bit. He hasn’t played a game since June so that’s just part of his process of returning to play is as you ramp up, he’s a little sub septic to certain things as you would be with muscle soreness or tightness. He’s got a little tightness.”

In a later story, Charania did say the Nets saw the issue as “normal.”

The Nets are treating Simmons’ back issue as day to day and a normal part of the recovery process, sources said, but it remains unclear when the three-time All-Star will make his season debut. Simmons has missed the first five games with his new team since the trade due to what the team has termed “return to competition reconditioning.”

Meanwhile, Nash disclosed that Kevin Durant had completed his second high-intensity workout with no incident Thursday. The Nets head coach said that Durant and Simmons will both need to string together a series of high-intensity workouts without a followed incident in order to return to play. Nash said Thursday that at that point, Simmons had not even begun that process.

Earlier in the week, Nash said conditioning was the only issue stopping Simmons from play but not mention any back issue.

“Conditioning, just got to try and get him to a place where he can, you know it’s been a long lay off so he hasn’t played NBA basketball for a long time. So just try and work through that.”

Back in October while he was in 76ers training camp had complained about lower back soreness, according to reports at the time.

Simmons, of course, hasn’t played since June 20 of last year, having held out until traded to the Nets at the deadline.