So much for Ben Simmons’ historic debut in the playoffs.
A day before multiple reports suggested Simmons was due to make his debut with the Nets, the team knocked him out for Game 4 due to back pain. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons showed up at the Sixers facility on Sunday and told them about his back pain after practice on Saturday and “they took him at his word.”
Earlier in the day, Steve Nash had been vague about Simmons’ return, but no one blinked because that kind of communication is what everyone has come to expect from the Brooklyn organization and around Simmons this season.
How that plays with the other nets and in the cabin is an open question. At this point in the season, every net plays some level of injury and pain. This is a team that entered the season thinking title, traded James Harden to Simmons midseason and now won’t get anything out of Simmons even in the playoffs. Maybe the teammates understand, but getting people’s hopes up and then disappointing them is hard on relationships (although there’s little chance the Nets will say that publicly).
It’s unknown if Simmons could play in Game 5 in Boston on Wednesday, if the Nets can keep the streak alive and win Game 4 on Monday night.
But at this point, Simmons’ Nets debut looks like a thing for next season.
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