Ben Simmons of the Nets looks on from the bench in...

Ben Simmons of the Nets looks on from the bench in the first half against the Pistons at Barclays Center on Jan. 26. Credit: Jim McIsaac

BOSTON — When will Ben Simmons be back on the court?

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn is hopeful it will be by Saturday.

Of course, Vaughn said two days before that he was hopeful Simmons would be ready to play when the team took the floor Wednesday night against the Celtics. Instead, Simmons missed his third straight game with a knee injury and did not travel with the team to Boston.

“Hopeful man. Keep hope alive,” Vaughn said when asked in his pregame news conference if he had an update on Simmons and T.J. Warren, who is out with a shin contusion. “They just weren’t ready yet. So the best thing was to leave them at home. They can get more treatment, and then remain hopeful for Saturday against Washington. So that’s still part of the plan hopefully.”

Few specifics have been offered about Simmons situation, which began when he left during a loss to the Pistons Thursday. He complained of left knee soreness during the second game of a back-to-back. It’s not the first time Simmons has missed time with a sore knee. He said previously that he thinks the issue is related to his offseason back surgery.

 The last time Simmons exited with knee soreness, on Nov. 28, he also had played consecutive days. In the aftermath of Simmons’ most recent setback, Vaughn said he wanted all his players to strive “to play every game and to do what’s necessary to be prepared to play every game.

It didn’t take much time Wednesday for it to become abundantly clear that the Nets could have used Simmons’ defensive skills and size, especially on the perimeter, and they could have used Warren’s size, period. Boston wasted no time taking advantage of their height advantage and jumped out to a 33-7 lead, shooting 13-for-19 overall and 7-for-7.

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