Down to the final 23 games of the regular season — once the Nets take the court on Thursday — it will still be a bit more time before Ben Simmons makes his debut in Brooklyn.
While the Nets could use Simmons on the court as soon as possible, it appears that he won’t hit the hardwood in a Brooklyn jersey for a few more weeks. The new report came during Monday’s edition of NBA Today when Ramona Shelburne indicated it would be a few more weeks until Simmons appears in his first game of the 2021-22 season.
“Ben Simmons, from what I’m told, is going to really ramp it up this week and see where he’s at at the end of the week, but he’s getting close. I don’t think it’s going to, it’s going to be more like weeks rather than months,” Shelburne said.
Simmons was acquired by the Nets in a blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 25-year-old Aussie has not played this season due to his desire to focus on his mental health. Simmons has not publically said what had created a situation that led to his needed departure from the City of Brotherly love, but told reporters during his introductory press conference that he was in good shape physically.
“Physically, I think over the last six months, I’ve been working. I feel pretty good,” Simmons said. “Mentally, I’m getting there. It’s an ongoing thing. Staying on top of that but I think I’m heading in the right direction.”
Whether or not that timeline of “weeks” means he will be able to play in the Nets and Sixers’ first game against one another on March 10 remains unclear. Simmons indicated that he had hoped to be on the court for that matchup.
Regardless, whenever Simmons can take the court cannot come soon enough for the Nets. Brooklyn has dropped down to eighth in the Eastern Conference since Kevin Durant suffered an MCL sprain in mid-January.
Durant is expected to return to the lineup at some point after the NBA All-Star break and the Nets are hoping that a healthy lineup can propel them back to the top of the conference as they push towards the playoffs.