According to The Athletic senior lead NBA insider Shams Charania, former Sixer Ben Simmons has finally targeted a return to NBA basketball:
Sources: Nets three-time All-Star Ben Simmons is targeting a return within Games 4-6 (April 25-29) of first round series vs. Celtics.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 14, 2022
Discussing Simmons and more on @Stadium NBA Playoff Preview Show: https://t.co/bEFYKs2ObS
Simmons, of course, hasn’t played since Game 7 versus Atlanta in last season’s second round, which ended his Sixers career in more ways than one. Since then, Simmons demanded a trade out of Philadelphia, refused to play for the team when one did not arise quickly, and then when he was traded at the deadline to the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons experienced back pain which has since inhibited him from playing in a game for his new squad. In March, Charania reported that Simmons received an epidural for the herniated disc in his back.
The questions for the Nets and Nets fans are of course aplenty at this point, should Simmons hit the court somewhere between Games 4 and 6 of the Nets’ series against the Celtics. What type of workload will Simmons be able to carry, physically? Given that it’s been so long since he’s played competitive basketball, you’d have to think that it’s at least somewhat tempting to pack up shop to not risk it with Simmons’ back. And if he’s physically healthy enough to play, one would think that if they roll him out there, his mental readiness is as high as it could be. Still, throwing him into the fire in what’s sure to be a tooth-and-nail series against the Celtics, is a tall order for any player after such a long absence.
Of course, we Sixers fans have our own problems to consider as the Sixers need to fight their way through Toronto. But it will certainly be interesting to see how the Nets versus Celtics series plays out, especially if Simmons hits the court.