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Ben Simmons ‘feeling good’ but ‘has boxes to tick’ before committing to FIBA run

Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Ben Simmons continued to work out in Miami with teammates Royce O’Neale and David Duke Jr. and still wants to play for the Boomers, Australia’s national team in the FIBA World Cup this August, but his hometown paper says he still has “boxes to tick” before committing to the grueling Cup schedule.

Michael Randall of the Melbourne Herald-Sun reports Monday that while Simmons is “feeling good,” he wants to make sure his body is ready.

Simmons, who has been active on social media over the past few days posting muscular images of himself in the weightroom and on the court, still has boxes to tick before he can be confident his body will hold up to the rigours of the Aussies’ FIBA World Cup campaign.

Code Sports has been told the 26-year-old is “feeling good” but is yet to test himself in full-contact competitive battles, with the Boomers’ squad set for pre-tournament training and selection in Cairns in less than two months (July 30-August 9).

Simmons workout schedule has not been detailed by either him or the Nets, but he has left a trail of increasingly positive images on Instagram in recent days. In the latest image, posted three days ago, the 6’11” guard forward was shown on the court, suggesting he’s been cleared for at least some basketball activity.

Randall reports that Basketball Australia had hoped for a decision by now but remains “happy” with the communications with Simmons.

While it was hoped they’d have an answer by now after earmarking an initial early-July deadline, Basketball Australia and coach Brian Goorjian are understood to be happy with the communication out of the Simmons’ camp and are prepared to give him more time, confident he can be a difference-maker.

The FIBA World Cup schedule could indeed be grueling. The Boomers play three “friendly” — exhibition — games in Melbourne before heading to Japan for Cup play starting August 25. If as expected Australia makes it all the way to the Final Four the weekend of September 9-10, he will have played a total of 12 games in a month. The Nets have had no public comment on Simmons plans, but will have eyes and ears Down Under. Adam Caporn, a Nets assistant coach, is also an assistant with Australia and Patty Mills is captain of the Boomers.

Sean Marks has said he expected Simmons to be physically ready by September 1. Marks has also said a Simmons return to form is the team’s top priority. After holding out in Philadelphia while seeking a trade during the 2021-22 season, Simmons underwent back surgery in May of 2022. Continuing back issues as well as nerve impingement in his leg limited him to 42 games last season.