Report: Ben Simmons to return to practice next week for Nets


Could Ben Simmons finally, actually, really be getting ready to make his debut for the Brooklyn Nets?

After reportedly running and shooting pain free over the last week, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons is expected to begin practicing with his teammates for the first time since the Nets acquired him in February.

If all goes well, it could be a prelude for Simmons getting on the floor for the Nets against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals -- if the series lasts long enough.

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Simmons, acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal which sent James Harden the other way on Feb. 10, has not played in an NBA game since June 20, 2021, when the Sixers lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks.

Since then, Simmons saw his relationship with Philadelphia deteriorate to the point he held out of training camp, briefly returning before he was thrown out by coach Doc Rivers for refusing to partake in a drill during practice. Most recently, he was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his back that's prevented him from playing for the Nets.

Wojnarowski noted that even if Simmons were to make a return for Brooklyn against Boston, it would likely only be for 10-15 minutes per game.

The top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons was named Rookie of the Year in 2017-18 for the Sixers after missing the 2016-17 season due to injury. He's made three All-Star teams, two All-Defensive teams and was Third Team All-NBA in 2019-20.


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