Boston – If Ben Simmons plays in the playoffs this season, the decision will be up to him and not anyone else.
The Nets head coach Steve Nash passed this message a few hours before the match about match 2 against the Celtics on Wednesday, exactly 10 months after Simmons last played in the NBA.
“There’s no other way but to say,‘ I’m ready, ’especially after such a long absence,” Nash told TD Garden. “So every time he’s ready, he’ll have to say, ‘I feel comfortable,'” I feel ready to go, “” I want to play, “” I want to contribute. ” We can’t push him to a place if you’ve been away for so long. It should be something where he will definitely be comfortable and ready to play. “
Nash added that it would be a “collective decision” including the team’s staff, but eventually Simmons would make his own blow.
“It was a long absence,” he said. “So I think it’s more about them [Simmons and the performance staff] this time trying to find a solution, a time when he can return where he can play safely and well enough to contribute. ”
Simmons continued to make progress after undergoing epidural surgery in mid-March to relieve pain associated with herniated disc in the lower back. This week, Nash said, the 25-year-old all-star striker practiced in four-on-four contact for the first time after a back injury. While Nash was speaking, Simmons walked past a small group of reporters who had gathered to get the Nets shot at the TD Garden court.
“Ben’s fine,” Nash said. “Today he will work again, let’s see if he will continue to improve, so he is still progressing and moving forward.”
Simmons participated four to four on Monday and five to zero on Tuesday, which Nash defined as “scripting.” Nash said the script is important for Simmons to know what actions the team is trying to take when he makes his debut, but has hedged that thought process with adjustments coming into the playoffs.
“If he can play at some point, make him as familiar as possible with what we do, because everything changes from day to day,” he said. “You’re making adjustments, so attach him to all these things so that if he can play at some point, he’ll be comfortable.”
Simmons’ bright presence in training and shooting caught the eye of some of his teammates.
“Yeah, he’s doing pretty well,” Nick Claxton said in a shootout Wednesday. “He definitely has a really good boast about himself now. So, you know, I think the whole world is ready to see him there, and he can definitely help us in many ways. ”
However, some teammates are still in the dark.
“I haven’t seen much,” said Seth Curry, Simmons’ former teammate in Philadelphia. “I didn’t watch him. [I’m] closed in what we do. Whatever he was doing, I really wasn’t in the gym to see it. I haven’t seen much. “
It remains unclear whether Simmons has progressed enough to play in Game 3 at the Barclays Center on Saturday. Nash did not rule out Simmons in the Nets ’first home playoff game, but also said the team could be cautious given how much time the star forward spent after playing in the NBA.
“I couldn’t say anything about it because I don’t even know how he will survive these weeks,” he said after Tuesday’s practice at Harvard. “We also have to consider that it’s a nine-month absence, or that’s there, so it’s not just like he had a six-week absence. I think it’s a pretty unique scenario, and it’s not as linear as other injuries of the season. ”
Simmons last played for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Atlanta Hawks in the 7th game of the Eastern Conference semifinals on June 20th. He cited mental health problems as the reason he did not play games or participate in the Sixers training camp this season before arriving in Brooklyn. through the James Harden deal of February 10th.
Simmons did not play when he arrived in Brooklyn because he needed to improve his condition. He injured his back during this set.