Will Ben Simmons be ready by Game 4? Steve Nash reacts to ESPN report


BOSTON -- There's been plenty of positivity surrounding Ben Simmons' health in the last 24 hours, but Steve Nash is playing his cards close to the vest.

The Nets head coach was asked Wednesday before Game 2 of Brooklyn's first-round NBA playoff matchup with the Boston Celtics about a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski suggesting Simmons could make his team debut in Monday's Game 4.

"That's news to me," Nash responded. "I don't think we're targeting any game. I think we're trying to see how he develops, how he progresses."

Nash seems to place the ball in Simmons' court regarding return vs. C's

Simmons, who came over from the Philadelphia 76ers via trade on Feb. 10, hasn't played an NBA game since June 20, 2021, as he recovers from a herniated disk in his back. The 6-foot-11 guard was cleared for contact Monday and did some contact work Wednesday morning during Brooklyn's shootaround, per Nash.

Despite those developments, Nash insisted Simmons isn't close to suiting up for Brooklyn in his series.

"That's something that with the recent history since the trade has not been straightforward," Nash said in regard to Simmons' recovery process. "So, while it's exciting to see him on the floor and see him make progress, I don't think any of us are saying it's imminent.

"We're just going to sit back and support him and see how far he gets, and if he's able to play, that'd be great. But we haven't penciled in anything or made any conclusions yet. I think he has a long ways to go before he feels ready to play."

To Nash's point, Simmons didn't look like someone ready for playoff basketball about an hour and a half before Wednesday's tipoff.

Nash might be engaging in some gamesmanship by downplaying Simmons' progress, and maybe he will return to action as soon as Game 4.

Whether Simmons can make an actual impact in this series is another question, as he's yet to play competitive basketball with his new teammates, much less be thrown into a highly-competitive playoff series against one of the NBA's best teams since late January.

The Celtics enter Game 2 at TD Garden with a 1-0 lead after Jayson Tatum's buzzer-beating layup in Game 1.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

Contact Us