Even so, Sean Marks and Steve Nash sure hoped that Simmons could contribute at some point in the season. But a nagging back injury and multiple setbacks in his ramping up process have prevented him from making his debut. Now, it seems like he may have to wait until next season.
Simmons Isn't Even Moving Around A Lot, Says Nash
The Nets are on the verge of the play-in tournament so they'd obviously wanted Simmons to be on the court before to get his legs back under him. That won't be possible now, as coach Steve Nash claims he's not even running yet:
He's doing some light shooting, Nash told the media. 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. He's not running, so yeah, I don't see him [being ready]. I would be shocked.
Nash also claimed that Simmons' prolonged layoff has taken a toll on his rehab process, as he still has to get used to the speed of the game:
If he had played 65 games, this year and we're going into the playoffs, and he had a few weeks' injury, maybe [you'd think about rushing the normal progression], Nash said. But, I think in this situation, we got to put his health and safety first and make sure that we're certain he's ready to play and contribute. And the other part is he hasn't played basketball, so you don't know what kind of Ben you get. And he hasn't been in an NBA game for, you know, nine to 10 months.
Simmons May Not Be Ready For The Play-In Tournament
Nash didn't want to rule out Simmons for a hypothetical playoff run, assuming the Nets get out of the play-in. But judging by where he is right now, it just doesn't seem likely:
We'll see, Nash said. I don't want to get too far down the road, like, I don't want to walk through the next five weeks with you guys and guessing -- you guys saw where he is today. He's doing some increased strengthening, some increased mobility stuff, a little bit of shooting and that's it.
The Nets are still one of the teams to beat with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court but Simmons' playmaking and defense could certainly come in handily come playoff time.