Ben Simmons dealing with back soreness as he approaches Nets debut

Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons applauds for his teammates in the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons is dealing with back soreness and is still not ready to make his debut with the Nets this season.

Simmons hasn’t played since the Philadephia 76ers lost to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 of last June’s Eastern Conference semifinals. He requested a trade from the 76ers last summer and hasn’t played this season to deal with his mental health.

Simmons’ back soreness, which was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, comes as he has been going through his reconditioning process. There is still no timetable for when Simmons could return to the court, but he had said that he hoped to play against the Sixers on March 10.

The Nets are treating it as a day-to-day issue.

Nets head coach Steve Nash confirmed the issue prior to Saturday’s win over the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks that Simmons was dealing with back soreness.

“I just saw the reports. It’s been the same process,” Nash said. “It’s just a little soreness in his back. It’s not like an injury. It’s just as he’s returning to play, his back has flared up a little bit. He hasn’t played a game since June so that’s just part of his process of returning to play is as you ramp up, he’s a little sub septic to certain things as you would be with muscle soreness or tightness. He’s got a little tightness.”

The Nets acquired Simmons, the No.1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first-round picks for James Harden and Paul Millsap. Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and was Defensive Player of the Year Finalist last season.

The Nets are hoping that when he does take the floor with the team that he can bolster Brooklyn’s defense and can play a major role along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.