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Steve Nash: Ben Simmons may not play in Philly ... but he’ll be there

Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Ben Simmons may not have traveled Sunday to Boston, but he’ll be available for the Philly boo birds on the bench Thursday when the Nets face the Sixers.

Steve Nash said Simmons will join the team for the other two games on the three-game road trip — the Hornets in Charlotte on Tuesday, and most importantly, the Sixers game in Philadelphia on Thursday.

“He’s not on the trip right now,” Nash said. “He’s going to join us.”

Back stiffness and re-conditioning will keep Simmons off the court, but Thursday will be the first time the 25-year-old Net will be in Wells Fargo Center since last June ... and the first time Sixers fans will get to react to him following his holdout.

That was basically the only news on Simmons from Nash’s pre-game talk with the media Sunday. There was no clear update from the Nets head coach on whether Simmons will participate in full-team practices by the end of the coming week. When Nash was asked what are the next steps to get Simmons on the court for full-team practices, he directed the question to the performance team.

“I assume just the performance team clearing his steps,” said Nash on the next steps to get Simmons to the full team practice stage. “That’s above my pay grade as far as using their expertise to determine what levels of his return he’s at. I can’t give you anything concrete because that’s a technical question for the medical staff.”

But when he’s ready, Nash thinks Simmons will be an easier fit than many expect...

“There are two sides to it. One is that he hasn’t played with our guys and he is unique,” said Nash. “On the other hand, I think he’s a great fit for our group. So I don’t think we overthink it. We allow him to be himself and clearly we will think it and put him in a position to succeed. But I think the way we play, the way we want to play, the vision for this group and the way he complements the rest of the group, I don’t think it’s going to be an overly mechanical process, you know putting a square peg in a round hole.”

Adrian Wojnarowski, on ABC’s pre-game show, basically echoed Nash and noted the Nets’ “urgency” in getting him on the court...

In an interview with YES Network’s Michael Grady Thursday, Sean Marks was hopeful that Simmons would start getting into the team environment by the end of this week. Marks added the team is watching how Simmons responds daily to his back stiffness and hopes that his newest star can get back to playing games to rack up minutes with his new teammates in the final stretch of the regular season.

“Unfortunately, his back stiffness has delayed his ability to get on the court with his teammates. He’s been rehabbing this last sort of week to 10 days, and now he’ll progress throughout this week with some individual workouts. Hopefully, by the end of next week, he’s getting into the team environment, and then we can really ramp up and start having him get into game shape,” Marks told Grady. “Although there’s no real timetable, we’ve got to see it, take it day-by-day, and see how he responds. Hopefully the sooner the better. We need to get this group together and get minutes together on the court.”

Miami Heat v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Michelle Farsi/Getty Images