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Ben Simmons out for Monday’s Game 4 after back reportedly flares up again

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2022 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Despite all the speculation and reports from top NBA reporters, Ben Simmons will not be available for Game 4 of the Nets-Celtics series, per Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski. He is officially out of what could be the Nets elimination game...

Woj later reported...

Within hours of his planned season debut, Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons reported a return of back soreness on Sunday, sources told ESPN, and has been ruled out for Monday’s Game 4 against the Boston Celtics.

After approximately 10 days of pain-free ramp up following recovery from a herniated disc, Simmons’ admission at the team practice facility was met with surprise and disappointment. On the brink of a sweep to the Celtics, the Nets had hoped Simmons would be in uniform and active with the hope of coach Steve Nash using him in limited minutes, sources said.

No word on whether there’s chance Simmons plays if the Nets win Monday to set up a Game 5 in Boston on Wednesday.

Shams and Woj had both reported that it was likely Simmons, acquired on February 10 but unavailable to play since because of a herniated disc, would play in the game ... barring a setback.

Earlier Sunday, Steve Nash had been coy with reporters on the issue of a Simmons return to play, offering no update on whether he would play or not. Indeed, Nash has in fact been non-committal about Simmons return despite the various media reports. He noted Saturday, for example, that Simmons had done 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 but only with bench players, the “stay ready” group.

Simmons was not available or even visible to beat writers who were allowed limited action to the HSS Training Center court Sunday morning. In previous sessions, Simmons had been visible.

Simmons spoke to the media two days ago in which he sounded upbeat at the possibility of playing in Game 4.

Monday morning, Brian Windhorst said that Simmons wanted to play but he woke up “hurting.”

This, of course, could also mean that the 25-year-old three-time All-Star will not play at all this season, whether regular season or post-season, if the Nets lose the Celtics Monday. He cited mental health issues in refusing to report to Sixers camp, then spent the entire season up to the deadline away from the team.

He joined the Nets shortly after the trade deadline with hopes that he’d be able to ramp-up in time to contribute in regular season. But sometime in late February or early March, Simmons began to suffer back pain that radiated into his leg. In mid-March, he was administered an epidural that helped ease the pain, setting up a series of scrimmages with the “stay ready” group. Until Sunday, he had gone through 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 contact drills without any setbacks.

Meanwhile, Reggie Miller on Twitter accused Simmons of being “ZERO competitive” for missing the game.