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Woj: Ben Simmons to begin practicing, hoping for some run in Celtics series

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

Can something be confusing as well as calculated?

Well, of course! As the 6th century B.C. Chinese military theorist said, “The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.”

The latest news on Ben Simmons seems to fall into that category. You can call it the “whole secret” or gamesmanship, but it appears the Nets want to confuse the enemy Celtics on the three-time All-Star’s availability in the first round of the NBA playoffs. If? When? How many minutes? Even Where?

On Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski wrote of how Simmons sudden improvement is about to take its next — and so far most significant — step this week.

The ESPN reporter added, “even if it’s just 10 to 15 minutes a game, sources said.”

Not long after, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report tweeted something similar.

All the breaking news wasn’t the most dramatic news of the day on Simmons who has been out all year and suffered what was ultimately diagnosed as a herniated disc in late February.

It was this, Simmons message to the media at Saturday shootaround, as best captured by Nick Friedell, Woj’s colleague at ESPN...

“There you go,” indeed. It’s not even a 1-on-1 let alone 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 against the “stay ready” gang, but it’s another sign of progress. But Steve Nash once again downplayed things in the face of constant reports from the likes of Woj, Shams and Windy.

“He’s still on his individual program,” said Nash in the media scrum following both the Woj report and Simmons dunk. “Still working through his rehab. 1-0 stuff”

Has he started running? a reporter asked.

“He does some running, but like I said the other day, no sprinting. Honestly, I don’t see what he’s doing, but I know he’s not sprinting.”

But is there progress?

”I think clearly he’s improving, but I have no idea if he’s getting close to play or not.”

Indeed, as previously reported, Simmons has spent most of his time with the performance and medical teams, not the coaching staff.

He has been part of team meetings and strategy sessions even on-court walk throughs, as he was Saturday morning.

The Nets are reportedly willing to let Simmons fly if he’s ready in the post-season, starting with the Celtics series, or if they feel he won’t be ready, wait till next season. They are, if anything, conservative, in their health assessments. Could there also be division between the Nets and Simmons’ people on his readiness to play? Who knows but someone is leaking a lot of specifics and on a nearly daily basis.

Indeed, a Brian Lewis tweeted after talking to someone close to Simmons, he still has a long way to go...

Lewis also quoted the source saying that the Nets and Simmons have been lucky in one regard. The first round series between Brooklyn and Boston is stretched out compared to others.

Game 4 won’t be until April 25 at Barclays Center, a day or two later than every other series’ Game 4. The source close to Simmons said that extra time would be a big help in the All-Star’s race against time to return from a herniated L-4 disk.

“The NBA did us a huge favor,” the source told The Post. “There’s like 10 days in there [to recover].”

And for the record, Game 3 is April 23, a week from today, at Barclays Center. Game 4 is April 25. It, too, will be at Barclays Center.