It appears the time has come. Ben Simmons is finally ready to play. Or so it seems.
Per Shams Charania, Simmons will make his Nets debut, and his season debut, for Game 4 vs. the Celtics in Brooklyn, scheduled for Monday. Obviously, this is all contingent on Simmons’ rehab remaining “on course,” Charania reported.
Simmons has been sidelined with a back issue since being acquired in the James Harden trade with the 76ers in February. But as we relayed earlier, he has advanced to contact and 4-on-4 play in practice recently.
Whenever he plays, it will be his first time on the court in nearly a year (June 2021). In his last game, he melted down in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and the 76ers went on to lose against the Hawks.
As of now, the Nets trail their best-of-seven series with the Celtics by a 2-games-to-0 count. Games 3 and 4 are in Brooklyn.
“There’s no other way than him to say, ‘I’m ready,’” Nets coach Steve Nash said before Wednesday loss. “Especially after an absence this long. So whenever he is ready, it’s going to have to be on him to say, ‘I feel comfortable. I feel ready to go. I want to play and I want to contribute.’
“We can’t push him places when you have been out this long. It’s got to be something where he is definitely comfortable and ready to play.”