ben simmons
Eric Hartline | USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons is going to play for the Nets eventually (we think).

But it won’t be anytime soon.

The polarizing guard did more in practice on Monday than he has been doing. But Steve Nash has already ruled Simmons out for the rest of the regular season and the NBA play-in tournament, according to The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer, as he continues his recovery from a herniated disk (at least that’s the latest documented injury).

Simmons’ practice work included a few rather uninspiring free throws.


If the Nets — currently the Eastern Conference’s 10th-seed — manage to advance out of the play-in tournament and into the playoffs, that would bring them into mid-April. That would be roughly two months since they acquired Simmons in the blockbuster deal that sent James Harden to the 76ers. And Simmons actually hasn’t played since June 2021, as he did not play for Philadelphia at all this season while he was burning every bridge in town.

It’s hard to imagine Simmons would be ready to go for a first-round playoff series, and that may be the end of the line for the Nets this spring. So there is a decent chance Simmons won’t play again until the start of the 2022-23 season, which is pretty incredible.

At this point maybe we should just dig up all the old Jacoby Ellsbury stories and repurpose them. Might save everyone some time.


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.