Steve Nash was non-committal about Ben Simmons returning for Game 4 on Monday but disclosed it’s possible. The Nets head coach explained how the final decision will be a mixture of determining with Simmons whether the 25-year-old three-time All-Star is ready to play as well as gauging how his injury absence and long layoff from play affect his fit.
“I think it’s possible but I’m not sure,” said Nash on Simmons returning in Game 4. “It’s not a normal return to play being out nine months and being injured as long as he has been. At the backend of this, it’s been about two months or more.
“It’s not just he got through three workouts and he’s ready to play,” Nash said. “There’s a bigger picture, bigger context to how he’s feeling, and how he would be able to adapt to the environment. There are a few factors that play here to evaluate when he’s ready to play.”
Simmons underwent a 3-on-3 workout on Saturday and came out of the workout clean, according to the Nets head coach. Nash added that there are no signs of any setback since his 4-on-4 workout Friday at HSS Training Center.
“He worked out this morning with some of the guys. I think he’s fine. I don’t think he had any setbacks or anything like that, so he got through the session today positive if anything with no setback.”
During pregame warmups, Simmons primarily was passing to David Duke Jr. — who is ineligible to play in the playoffs under his two-way contract. He also took a handful of shots and jogged back to the locker room after his 10-minute session.
While Game 3 is a must-win contest for Brooklyn, no matter the outcome Saturday night, the Nets head coach said the series score will not impact the team’s decision to put Simmons on the floor.
“I think it’s really a matter of if Ben’s ready to play,” Nash said. “Whether it’s 3-0, 2-1, or whatever, the score of the series isn’t as big of a factor. It’s is he ready to play.”
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