Symptom-free Steve Nash returns to coach Nets against Celtics
BOSTON — He had never felt bad, and Steve Nash really felt good on Sunday. Good enough to drop a playful F-bomb during his pregame news conference before the Nets faced the Celtics in a nationally televised game at TD Garden.
Fortunately, Nash’s pregame news conference wasn’t nationally televised, even though he said the naughty word in a joking manner. You can understand why the Nets’ coach was feeling giddy after missing the previous three games while in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol.
Nash revealed that he tested positive last Monday during a routine test before the Nets traveled to play in Toronto the next day. Even though he never had any COVID symptoms, he wasn’t cleared to return until Friday evening.
"It was obviously getting across the border and back and everything," Nash said. "I never had any symptoms. So it was just kind of a week of waiting it out."
Nash said he did not enjoy watching on TV as his struggling team lost all three games. Watching and not being able to do anything about it was not fun.
"Maybe you’d hope or you’d expect to try to gain an advantage from having that different perspective," he said. "If anything, it’s frustrating to watch on TV just because I’m a big believer in people, if you will, the human element of it, body language connectivity, and what that provides a team. It’s really, really hard to judge that from a TV screen rather than being there.
"So I think that plays into everything. You miss that when you’re at home. I think there’s nothing about these games that wasn’t already understood about our group. I thought we did very well in some parts of it. Obviously, we struggled. But those were those continued issues and nothing necessarily new."
Simmons in Philly?
Nash said his Ben Simmons update is that he has no update other than Simmons (back) will join the team on this road trip. That means the former 76ers guard will be present — but will not play — in Thursday’s game at Philadelphia, which is a big deal to the folks in the City of Brotherly Love.
According to ESPN.com, the Nets hope Simmons will be able to practice with his new teammates by the end of this week.
"I think he’s a great fit for our group," Nash said. "So I don’t think we overthink it. I think we allow him to be himself and clearly we will think it and try to put him in a position to succeed.
"I think the way we play and the way we want to play, the vision for this group, and the way he complements the rest of the group . . . Ben’s special because of all the things that he does well. Not one thing. Many, many things he does on the basketball court, I think, that really suits our group.
"So we’re excited to have him back. Excited for that process to unfold of him understanding his teammates and vice versa. We just can’t wait to get him back. He’s going to change everything for us."