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Steve Nash: Ben Simmons has herniated disc; possibility of surgery hasn’t been discussed

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Portland Trail Blazers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Steve Nash confirmed Ben Simmons has a herniated disc in his lower back. The latest detail of Simmons’ injury was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic Monday morning. Previously, Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne described the injury as an “irritation” of the L-4 disc in his back.

The Nets head coach also disclosed that the herniated disc is the main reason his 25-year-old star received the epidural injection when the team was in Orlando, Florida last week.

When Nash was asked whether he knows how Simmons is feeling after the epidural injection — an injection that was done roughly a week ago — he stated he believes the injection provided some relief.

“I don’t know how an epidural works or what the timeline is but I do think if I’m not speaking out of terms, there was some relief,” Nash stated. “I don’t know how much or if it was a total success or how long it takes for that to be called a success. It’s just one layer if I’m not mistaken, to relieve the symptoms as much as anything.”

The Nets head coach also dismissed any conversations about Simmons needing surgery for his herniated disc, stating, “not by me. I don’t think so.”

Simmons has had a history of back injuries throughout his short NBA career. The former Philadelphia 76er was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his lower back in February of 2020. The Nets head coach spoke about Simmons’ injury history with his back.

“He’s had this a couple of years ago, so he’s had this throughout his career at some points. I guess there was a flare-up. I’m not sure when they recognized it was beyond a regular back flare-up and a herniated disc,” Nash stated. “There somewhat on the line there that was the reason for the epidural.”

Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Although Simmons has yet to go through any individual workouts or any on-court work since suffering the flare-up with his back, the optimism of him playing this season remains high, according to his coach. Nash admitted there were periods in his rehab (before suffering the setback) that felt he was turning a corner and inching closer to his Nets debut.

“Yeah. I don’t think it changes the outcome necessarily. We still have high hopes that he can come back,” Nash said. “He’s had moments during his rehab where he’s on the court doing some things and it looks like he’s about to turn a corner, and then there’s a little setback. I still feel optimistic that he can play for us.”

While there are only 11 games remaining on the regular season schedule before the postseason rolls around, Nash added there is no set date that Simmons needs to be healthy in order to incorporate him in the lineup.

“I don’t know. I don’t think so,” said Nash on whether there’s a date that Simmons needs to be available by before shutting him down for the season. “I think if he’s able to get back to playing, I think we would want to incorporate him at any point.”

When the Nets head coach was asked, once again, about when he believes the injury occurred, he spoke about how Simmons put together months of individual work to get ready for his newest opportunity during his Sixers holdout. He remains hopeful this case will have a “good resolution” in the near future.

“From what I know, he trained pretty hard for five-six months and was in a great place. Unfortunately, I think there was a little flare-up at some point in there, and it’s just never quite turned the corner since,” Nash said. “He had months of five-six days a week on-court and was doing very well. It’s just unfortunate but we’ll stay the course and hopefully have a good resolution to this in the near future.”

Nash’s comments were in marked contrast to his discussion of the injury two days. In that media availability, Nash deferred any questions on the details to the team medical staff and declined to even say if Simmons was feeling any better.

Earlier in the day, Kevin Durant said Simmons, despite his back problems remained upbeat.

“He’s doing good,” Durant said of Simmons. “He looks good as far as just walking around and being around the team. Haven’t seen him do anything on the basketball court as much, but a couple walk-through things. But I think his spirits are in the right place and he’s excited to be a part of the group and looking forward to having him out on the floor. I definitely don’t want him to rush back for us and his back is not right, so take all the time he needs to get his body right and once he’s out there we’re ready to rock and roll.”