Nash comfortable dropping Ben Simmons right into playoffs if he has to

Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons on the bench against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets were able to finally put one of their longest lingering issues behind them, but they still have one more that has yet to be figured out. And that is when or if Ben Simmons will be able to play this season.

Nets head coach Steve Nash said recently that he’s still operating under the guise that Simmons will be on the floor at some point season. The clock is ticking for the Nets to get Simmons on the floor before the playoffs, but that may not be an option by the time he is ready.

Still, Nash is ready to get him into the lineup whenever that is possible.

“I don’t know if it means he starts and plays 40 minutes,” Nash said when asked about his comfortability throwing Simmons in cold during the playoffs. “Somewhere on the spectrum, I’ll be happy to incorporate him into the group.”

Simmons has yet to play a game since the Nets acquired him in February at the NBA Trade Deadline. The 25-year-old’s ramp-up to get back on the court was hindered by a herniated disc in his back.

Still, the goal for him is to play this season, The Athletic’s Shams Charania said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee show on Thursday.

“There’s obviously an uncertainty when he’ll be able to play, but his goal is to try to figure out a way to get back on the floor,” Charania reported. “Ben Simmons is the missing piece on (the Nets). The defense he brings, the passing, being able to play all five positions. Ben Simmons is literally exactly what the Nets need. But they’re going to be cautious. The last thing you want to do, especially with a back injury, is bring him back and you rush it.

“I think they’re going to be cautious with it, but there’s an expectation around the Nets that Ben Simmons will play this year.”

Simmons had an epidural last week while the Nets were in Orland in hopes to ease the back issue and get him on the court. The Nets have nine games remaining on their regular-season calendar.