On November 14, Ben Simmons’ agent, Bernie Lee, told Brian Lewis about how his client’s “hip contusion” had been diagnosed as “nerve impingement” after an MRI. Not long after, the Brooklyn Nets came out with a statement of their own on the injury, saying a “status update” would be provided in a week. Later that day, Jacque Vaughn found himself fielding Simmons-related questions for most of the pregame press conference against the Orlando Magic.
Vaughn reiterated what the Nets medical update had noted, that the organization would re-evaluate Simmons in seven days and on Wednesday, they did just that, providing a relatively transparent update to the media and fans. The update isn’t limited to Simmons either. P.R. provided information on Cam Thomas (ankle) and Dennis Smith Jr. (back) as well.
Here’s their latest report...
- Ben Simmons (left lower back nerve impingement) is continuing to improve with treatment and has begun light individual court work. Simmons, who has missed the past six games, will have his status updated again in 7-10 days.
- Dennis Smith Jr. underwent an MRI, which confirmed the previous diagnosis of a lower back sprain. Smith, who has missed one game with the injury (Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia), will continue to receive treatment and is currently listed as day-to-day.
- Cam Thomas (left ankle sprain) has made significant improvement and has been cleared for increased on-court activity. He is expected to be integrated into team activities next week as he progresses with his return-to-play program. Thomas, who sustained the ankle sprain on Nov. 8, has missed the past five games.
All things considered, it’s a glimmer of optimism mostly for Smith Jr. and Thomas. Simmons remains a bit of a mystery and we should know more in another week, but he’s back on the court. We’ll take it.
There’s an important component to all of this. Historically, the Nets haven’t been the most transparent organization when it comes to injuries, specifically since Sean Marks arrived. He keeps his cards close to his chest and there is no such thing as a timeline in Brooklyn other than one for the next evaluation. Truth be told, that’s often justified considering the type and extent of the injury — and the player’s ability to rehab — are simply not knowable early in the process. (Nor should they or the players feel any pressure rushing back just because there’s a timeline.)
That said, the organization lived up to their timetable — and word — and provided an update one week after the Simmons news. It’s perhaps the most open and transparent they’ve been recently ... and a continuation of a more open trend that we’ve seen this season.
Fans aren’t asking for a full diagnosis — or the MRI scan — in cases like this, just something, often anything, to put a halt to the guessing game every time someone goes down and give them some hope.
Beyond the guessing game, of course, is the most important thing: they need these guys back. They sorely miss Thomas’ scoring threat and Simmons’ size on defense and speed in pushing the pace on offense. Brooklyn is 2-3 without Thomas; 3-4 without Simmons.
None of the three traveled to Atlanta Wednesday.