Is Ben Simmons finally making progress towards potential return?

Ben Simmons
Mar 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets injured guard Ben Simmons (10) holds a basketball during a timeout during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center. The Nets defeated the Pistons 130-123. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Any news is something when it comes to Ben Simmons’ return, and it seems there may be some movement in the right direction.

Nets head coach Steve Nash said that Simmons is doing some light shooting on the court. It’s a small development, but the first sign of progress in quite some time for the 25-year-old who has yet to make his Nets debut.

Simmons was also on the road with the Nets in Atlanta on Saturday night. Social media video showed the point guard one the court before the loss to the Hawks helping Patty Mills warm up.

He had also traveled to Miami with the team last weekend after they had pulled him back from travel to protect his back.

Simmons still has yet to do any 1-on-1 work or 1-on-0 work and the Nets generally require three high-intensity workouts before a player is cleared to return to action. That still seems a bit of a ways off for Simmons.

“He’s doing some light shooting,” Nash said. “He’s been on the court a little bit the past couple of days. Nothing dynamic yet. He’s not even moving around a lot. Just some light shooting.”

[READ: Injury bug returns as Nets face possibility of playing without three key players]

Simmons has been dealing with a herniated disc in his back that has hindered his return to the court after he was traded to Brooklyn in February. The Nets had hoped he would have already been back on the court by this point, but setbacks have made it unclear when he will make his way onto the floor.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported that Simmons had begun light on-court workouts on Friday and there was still hope that he would return in time for the playoffs. Nash did not discuss any timeline when he talked about Simmons over the weekend.

Not having Simmons on the court has become a major sticking point now with just four games left in the regular season and the Nets jocking for positioning in the East. Brooklyn will have to go through the play-in round just to make the playoffs this year and their defense has been a major question mark.

For all of the talk about Simmons’ shooting ability, his defense has been a major facet of his game that makes him such a deadly player. Having Simmons in the fold certainly would have helped address some of those defensive issues the Nets have struggled with.