Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons has been sidelined with lower spine L-4 disc irritation, but hopes he can return for “a few” regular season games ahead of the LA playoffs. Eastern Conference, sources told ESPN on Wednesday. .
There had been an initial target for a Friday comeback against the Portland Trail Blazers, sources said, but that has become impossible in recent weeks due to Simmons’ inability to spend more than a day or two in rehab without lower back pain. and resetting its timeline, sources said.
Simmons continued to receive treatment and work to strengthen his back and restart his 1-on-0 basketball activities on the court. With his team in Orlando, Simmons had an epidural injection, coach Steve Nash said Wednesday, and the hope is that it will help with recovery.
The Nets hope Simmons can return to play in regular season games before a playoff likely to begin in the play-in tournament in mid-April. The Nets face the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers in their final two regular-season games on April 8 and 10, respectively, before the qualifying tournament begins.
The Nets are going to give Simmons a few days to see if the epidural eases some pain. “It just depends on the epidural and how he reacts,” Nash said. “And then they can start formulating a plan.”
The Nets are 36-33 and currently sit eighth in the Eastern Conference. Teams ranked 7-10 must qualify for the playoffs with one or two wins in the play-in, depending on their seeding.
Simmons, 25, was acquired in a blockbuster deal from the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 10. After requesting a trade during the offseason, he remained inactive for the Sixers until the deal, which sent James Harden to Philadelphia.
The Nets are playing full-time Kevin Durant and an unvaccinated Kyrie Irving currently only eligible for road games outside of New York.
Simmons is a three-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive first-team selection. Simmons averaged 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals for the Sixers last season.
ESPN writer Nick Friedell contributed to this report.