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Ben Simmons dealing with back soreness ahead of Nets debut

Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters the development with Simmons' back is "not a long-term thing."

Ben Simmons looks on during a game against the Boston Celtics on Feb. 24, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Ben Simmons is dealing with back soreness as the Brooklyn Nets’ new acquisition prepares to make his 2021-22 debut.

Nets coach Steve Nash confirmed before Saturday’s game with the Milwaukee Bucks that the three-time All-Star has encountered “just a little soreness in his back.”

“It’s not like an injury,” Nash said. “It’s just kind of like as he’s returning to play, his back’s flared up a little. It’s not like a long-term thing.”

The Nets acquired the 6-foot-10 guard/forward along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first-round picks in a Feb. 10 trade that sent 10-time All-Star James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, hasn’t played since the 76ers fell to the Atlanta Hawks in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. He demanded a trade last summer. 

“He hasn’t played a game since June,” Nash said. “I think that’s just a part of his process of returning to play. As you ramp up, you’re a little bit susceptible to certain things, as you would be with muscle soreness or tightness.”

While speaking to reporters after the trade, Simmons said he hoped to play again by the time the Nets visit Philadelphia on March 10.