Appearing confident and ready to go after a nearly 10-month layoff, Ben Simmons said he believes it’s “reasonable” that he’ll play in Game 4 at Barclays Center vs. the Boston Celtics. And he said he’s not worried whether he’ll fit in, that he has the BBIQ to fit in with his new teammates.
Ben Simmons is asked if he's had conversations with Steve Nash about his fit with the Nets on the floor:— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 22, 2022
"I'll fit in. I'm not worried about that." pic.twitter.com/W4fQBBAeCu
“We’ll find out,” the 25-year-old Simmons said when asked about making his team debut in a what will be a crucial postseason game. “I’ll fit in. I’m not worried about that.”
“I got to get on the floor and help this team win. I’ve been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, and that’s what they need me to do,” Simmons said.
Why so confident? he was asked.
“I think for me, my IQ is so high, to play with guys like [Kyrie Irving] and Seth [Curry] and [Durant], just watching them I know how they play and how they want to play, for me to get them in their spots and be a floor general. It’s exciting, and I’m looking forward to it.”
It was Simmons first availability with the Nets media since February 15 when he held a press conference following the trade.
Simmons hasn’t played for Brooklyn since being traded to the Nets by the 76ers at the trade deadline and he hasn’t played in the NBA since June 20th of last season after Philly lost to Atlanta in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. After that game, which ended with post-game criticism from teammate Joel Embiid and coach Doc Rivers, Simmons asked for a trade from Philadelphia, citing mental health issues.
Simmons seemed ready to return to play after some reconditioning but back issues, ultimately revealed to be a herniated disc in his lower back, put him on the shelf. After being administered an epidural on the weekend of March 15, Simmons slowly worked his way back helped by rest and rehab.
By delaying his debut till Game 4, Simmons will get one more practice to round into shape and ensure that his pain has dissipated enough for him to play at full speed. There’s been speculation that Simmons will have a minutes restraint, but no official word.
Shams Charania spoke to Rich Eisen about the rationale for holding Simmons till Game 4,..
Shams on The Rich Eisen Show on his reporting that Ben Simmons will return Game 4: pic.twitter.com/MnIePieQM4— Joseph Martinez (@JMartinezBKN) April 21, 2022
“I think just allowing him an extra day, even more time to get practice time in. This is a guy who hasn’t played in almost a year, June 2021, and so you want him to be rolled out there on all cylinders,” Charania said in an interview with Eisen. “He’s done a couple of days of scrimmages this week.”
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that even if the Nets lose Saturday and go into an elimination game Monday, Simmons is expected to play.
Meanwhile, Shams and Woj report that barring any unlikely circumstances, Robert Williams, the Celtics shot-blocking center and Nets nemesis, will return for Game 3 Friday.
- Ben Simmons ‘not worried’ about challenge of making Nets’ debut in playoffs - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Ben Simmons’ audacious comeback? It’s these Nets as usual - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Sources: Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons plans to play in Gm. 4 vs. Boston Celtics on Monday night - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- What we hope to see from Ben Simmons in the playoffs (Video) - ESPN
- Simmons hopeful of Nets debut, perhaps in Game 4 vs Boston - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Ben Simmons hopeful for long-awaited return next week, but will it be too late? - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets could get first look at Ben Simmons experience in Game 4: ‘I want to be on the floor the whole time’ - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Nets’ Ben Simmons confirms no Game 3 return but ‘hopeful’ for Game 4 - Phillip Martinez - SNY
- Rob Williams and Ben Simmons are approaching return, how will Celtics respond? - Jared Weiss - The Athletic
- Ben Simmons reportedly set to make his debut for Nets in Game 4 against Celtics - Christopher Price - Boston Globe
- Rob Williams closes in on return - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald