The Brooklyn Nets already have their backs almost flush against the wall. So the impending return of All-Star point guard Ben Simmons will be a welcome one for them.
According to Shams Charania, Simmons plans on making his season debut in Game 4 next Monday at the Barclays Center, “as long as rehab remains on course.” Simmons has been dealing with various physical and mental health issues over the past year, and most recently has dealt with a reported disc problem in his back.
Simmons hasn’t played since June 20, 2021, so Game 4 against the Celtics would also mark his Nets debut.
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Assuming he’s healthy, the 6-foot-11 Simmons, a reigning two-time member of the All-NBA Defensive team, would give Brooklyn an excellent chess piece to deploy at their end of the court, particularly against Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown. The Nets played solid defense against the Celtics’ two stars, anyway, in Game 2, until Tatum and Brown broke through in the fourth quarter of their comeback win. Simmons’ absence from the court and lack of chemistry with his new teammates aren’t ideal, but you’d have to think the Nets are better off with him than without.
In Brooklyn, the hope is that the Nets can get one back in Game 3, because bringing him back in Game 4 down 0-3 in the series would seem unnecessarily risky to his health. The Celtics are 40-1 all-time in playoff series when they win the first two games.
Game 3 takes place Saturday, with a scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m. ET. Here’s more about the series schedule.
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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.