Many Nets fans have given up on Ben Simmons, as have most if not all pundits, but the Nets organization cannot. They need him to return to form, desperately. He is their only All-Star and he’s owed $78.2 million over the next two years.
So what Brian Lewis is reporting Wednesday has to be considered positive news. Simmons, he writes has “made really good improvement” as he rehabs from nerve impingement in his back. The Nets shut him down for the season on March 24 after he missed 15 straight games going back to February 15.
Moreover, Lewis reports that the chances of a second back surgery is unlikely. Simmons had a microdiscectomy in L.A. on May 5. The possibility has hung over the franchise which has to make a lot of decisions this off-season, starting with the Draft in late June.
[T]hough the prospect of a second back surgery hasn’t been completely ruled out, The Post has learned it’s now considered unlikely, and he has made progress, not just in his health, but also in his headspace.
“There will be an assessment around the start of May, and if he [feels] exponentially worse or no improvement, that could end up an option. But every sign has indicated that that won’t be the case,” a source familiar with the situation told The Post. “He’s made really good improvement.
“The evaluation is a normal evaluation, though, nothing extreme, just kind of monitoring his progress and surgery is not in the realm of expectations for him.”
Bernie Lee, Simmons new agent had previously told Lewis that he expects Simmons to be physically prepared for training camp in early October.
Lewis also reports that Simmons attitude has improved.
“The group around Ben has noticed a complete change in Ben’s focus and mentality [through] this rehab and how he has attacked it and engaged with everything,” the source told The Post, “and there is a lot of belief in him being able to return to his All-Star form.”
Simmons, 26, is two months older than Mikal Bridges, two months younger than Cam Johnson, so pairing him with the “Twins” and Nic Claxton could help whatever retooling Sean Marks plans.
There has also been some rumbling Down Under about whether Simmons could be available for the Boomers, the Australian men’s basketball team, when they play in the FIBA World Cup starting in late August. That would seem unlikely at this point, but August would be five months into his rehab.
Next up for Simmons could be an appearance on the Nets bench Thursday when they play his former team, the 76ers, at Barclays Center. Simmons did not travel to Philly to continue his rehab ... and avoid those unforgiving Philly fans.
- Nets’ Ben Simmons unlikely to have second back surgery after ‘really good improvement’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post