Nets shut down Ben Simmons for remainder of season and playoffs
The Nets are shutting Ben Simmons down for the rest of the season, coach Jacque Vaughn said after practice on Tuesday.
“Ben will not be joining us the rest of the year and through the playoffs,” Vaughn said. “After consulting with our doctors, multiple specialists, he's just going to begin a rehab program. Our doctors and the specialists feel and think that he'll have a full recovery, so that starts now.”
The news doesn't come as a great shock considering that the team announced last week that Simmons had been diagnosed with a nerve impingement and was being sent to specialists. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing for Nets fans, who had hoped they could get more out of the three-time All-Star this season.
Of the 114 regular-season and playoff games the Nets will have played through the end of this season since acquiring Simmons from the 76ers last year, he will have played in only 42 of them — all this season. He missed the first half of last season as he waited for the 76ers to trade him. After he came to the Nets in the James Harden trade, he injured his back in practice and needed back surgery in the summer.
Vaughn said that at this juncture Simmons is not expected to have another back surgery in the offseason.
The 26-year-old Simmons has another two years remaining on his contract, which pays him $37.8 million in 2023-24 and $40.3 million in 2024-25. This season has been by far his least productive as a pro as he averaged 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists — all career lows.
Nets general manager Sean Marks, who made the trade for Simmons last season when Harden wanted out of Brooklyn, told ESPN that the team will continue to support Simmons through his latest rehabilitation.
“This is a young man that has been through a very traumatic and pretty arduous last couple years here,” Marks said. “And this is not news that he wants to hear. He didn't want specialists telling him, 'Hey look, here's the best thing for you.' The good news, they were in unison in their plan for a full recovery. I worked hard with these doctors, all the different specialists as well as Bernie Lee, his new agent, to come up with a plan that's hopefully going to get him back, and back to being the Ben we've all seen."
Vaughn also remains hopeful that Simmons can get back to being the elite player he once was.
“That's our goal,” Vaughn said. “And overall you just think about, he's 6-10, athletic, what he can do and bring to our team, how he can help our group on both ends of the floor. We want to be involved in that. We want to see that. I want to coach Ben and I want to be able to push Ben to get back to All-Defensive team and impact our team on both ends of the floor. So that's definitely the goal going forward.”
Notes & quotes: The Nets signed center Moses Brown to a second 10-day contract. His first 10-day deal expired Sunday night.