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Nets: Ben Simmons to undergo back surgery Thursday. Should return by training camp

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

The Nets announced Wednesday evening that Ben Simmons will undergo back surgery Thursday to alleviate the pain he’s experienced from a herniated disc.

The announcement was posted on social media...

The decision was a bit of a surprise. On April 22, Simmons told the media that he didn’t anticipate need for any off-season procedure, saying but that was before he experienced bouts of back soreness later that day and on April 24 that kept him out of Game 4 of the Nets first round series vs. the Celtics.

A microdiscectomy relieves the pressure on a spinal nerve root by removing the material causing the pain, per spine-health.com. “During the procedure, a small part of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material under the nerve root is taken out,” the site noted.

Although the Nets did not say how long the recovery and rehab will take, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the three-time All-Star acquired in the trade deadline blockbuster should be back well before training camp...

A four-month timeframe would put Simmons back on the floor in early September. Training camp will begin later in the month. Similarly, Brian Lewis of the Post spoke to two orthopedists (not involved in the Simmons surgery) who offered a optimistic view.

“If all goes well, he should be back in three months,” Dr. Rahul Shah, a New Jersey-based board certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon, told The Post.

Dr. Neel Anand, professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, laid out a timeline to Lewis.

“I think given three months, he can rehab. Usually by two-to-six weeks you’re starting to rehab, and by six weeks to three months you’re really intensifying into full-time rehab, and you’re there. Three months most of them get back,” said Dr. Anand.

The news should end speculation that Simmons issues were purely or mostly mental. He apparently hurt his back in late February or early March not long after the February 10 trade that sent James Harden to Philadelphia. After using terms like “stiffness,” “a little soreness,” “a setback” and a “flare-up,” to describe Simmons issue, the Nets admitted on March 31 that Simmons had a herniated disc at the L-4 position in his lower back. Simmons has had back issues in the pass while in Philly. He missed eight games in early 2020 but did not undergo surgery then. Of course, he had not played for the 76ers before the trade, citing mental health issues.

On April 10, last day or the regular season, both Woj and Shams Charania reported that after an epidural administered the weekend of March 15, Simmons had improved and was pain-free. Michael Grady of YES Network also reported that pain was no longer radiating into his legs.

That gave the Nets and their fans optimism that Simmons could play late in the first round of the post-season vs. Boston. But after a number of 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 workouts, Simmons reported the morning of Game 4, he felt back soreness and he was scratched.

The next day, Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul, met with Sean Marks and other team officials to discuss Simmons health, both mental and physical. The two sides agreed to continue to work together.