In a unique and revealing Twitter Q. and A., Ben Simmons agent, Bernie Lee, told NetsDaily and other fans that the Brooklyn Nets remain solidly — indeed 1000% — behind his client; that the back injuries that have sidelined him are one-time “freak” injuries and that the 27-year-old is “getting to the home stretch” of his return after missing 31 of 37 Nets games.
The Q. and A. began with a somewhat joking NetsDaily tweet suggesting that Simmons general discussion of his injury status earlier in the day in Paris saved Jacque Vaughn from having to once again update what has been the longest running saga of the Nets current campaign. The Nets have provided regular updates on Simmons status, but as Lee suggested the updates can be frustrating because Simmons’ recovery is not necessarily linear ... and often don’t fit with fans’ preconceptions and hopes.
Lee picked up the thread with an offer to take questions...
Ask a question happy to answer.. shoot. https://t.co/0fQpF4WZNM— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) January 10, 2024
In answers to a two-part ND question on where Simmons stands in his recovery and whether the Nets and Simmons are on the same page, Lee said the Simmons recovery and rehab is moving ahead, “getting to the home stretch,” but noted that the process is necessarily slow and careful. Moreover, he said answers may seem vague to “protect the athlete’s humanity.” So, like Simmons he did not provide a schedule for a Simmons return...
He recently progressed to 2 on 2 and 3 and 3 and his re load comes in blocks, which is true for all players coming off of injury. He does something for 4-5 days we assess how it felt, test him move to the next phase. He’s getting to the home stretch. Cont https://t.co/D25LaA8uNq— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) January 10, 2024
The reason some of the answers are a bit vague is there is no more transparent way to answer them, you can’t answer what may happen in the next block until you finish the one you are in and you are also trying to protect the athlete’s humanity and just let him work. Cont https://t.co/D25LaA8uNq— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) January 10, 2024
As for the Nets support, Lee was effusive... saying while other teams may claim to put the player first, Brooklyn “lives it...”
1000 pct. The ultimate blessing in all this for Ben has been being on a team like Brooklyn during these freak injuries as they are so supportive and proactive of/w him in every way. Every organization preaches player 1st, Brooklyn lives it, even when things are hard. Cont’d https://t.co/D25LaA8uNq— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) January 10, 2024
Lee also made some news in discussing the “freak” nature of the back injuries Simmons has suffered going back as far as 2021. Lee said the injuries are not, as some orthopedists have suggested in news reports, recurring or habitual. Rather, he described them rather as “1 off,” “singular events.” He essentially dismissed a lot of what experts who have no connection to the Simmons case have told various reporters...
Another gift of what Ben has achieved is he’s at a level where pick a doctor any doctor on planet earth if I call them they respond within mins and jump in, so we listen to the 1 pct of the 1 pct who has all told us repeatedly, its not a habitual thing and 1 off events. https://t.co/OJL4UZgPzW— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) January 10, 2024
Analogy I’d give is roulette. Just because red hits 5 times in a row doesn’t mean black or red is anymore likely the next spin. It’s all singular events. We have to keep spinning. https://t.co/OJL4UZgPzW— Bernard Lee (@BernieoLee) January 10, 2024
Beyond the questions from NetsDaily, Lee also answered a number of other fans’ inquiries.
- Does Simmons want to stay in Brooklyn? “Of course he does. His play at the start of the year reflected that.”
- Can he return to the form seen earlier in his career before the back issues and his holdout on the Sixers? Again, Lee offered positives. After a fan suggested that Simmons “was” a great player, Lee replied, “*is ** man. He’ll get there. I have less than 0 doubts. I see it every day.”
- To another fan who asked if Simmons is damaged goods, Lee said while a “fair question,” he compared Simmons to “an Aston Martin with a flat tire as opposed to a Mini Van with 300,000 miles that someone put a fish tank in it from Pimp my ride to distract you.”
What motivated Lee’s willingness to take questions and provide detailed answers (short of discussing when Simmons might return?) Could it have been in response to Simmons offering a non-response to reporters seeking a timeframe for his return earlier in the day? Was he simply updating everyone on Simmons status after he seen doing light court work? Or maybe he wanted to get some good news out there about his client, knowing there hasn’t been a lot of it. The Nets after all don’t provide many details on his recovery beyond their two-week updates, certainly not as many as Lee did in talking with ND.
Of course, as Simmons agent, Lee is paid to put forth a positive picture of his client, particularly at a time when fans are increasingly confused about Simmons status and the Nets have hit a tough stretch, needing as much help as they can. So, while Lee said Simmons wants to stay with the Nets, the reverse remains a question mark.
As Lee noted, part of his job is working within an athlete’s humanity and privacy. So there was no release of medical records or any offer to put forward a member of Simmons’ medical team. Still, to have a agent — indeed a controversial player’s agent — discuss the player’s health status with such transparency is extraordinary.
Meanwhile, Harry Giles III, who knows how a string of injuries can affect a player, told Hoop Chat’s Emily Austin what he sees from Simmons and how he feels much of the criticism is not warranted.
“I don’t think it’s fair. If you haven’t been through injuries you can’t judge. And I feel like if you’re not an athlete and you don’t play sports at a certain level — when the grind is every day — I don’t think you can relate or speak on that topic,” Giles told Austin.
“I know he loves the game, he’s working so he loves to do [it], but it’s tough when you keep coming up short. It’s hard to explain, but if you go through it you understand,” he added. “It ain’t like he quit… he’s working to get back so I think that tells it all. He’s got to take his time, block out the outside noise, and just focus on himself.”