Ben Simmons’ first season with the Brooklyn Nets has ended before the regular season does.
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn announced Tuesday that Simmons will be shut down for the rest of season because of his lingering back issue.
The Nets have ruled out Ben Simmons for the remainder of the season. Simmons is beginning a rehab program on his back, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn says.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 28, 2023
The Nets are shutting down Ben Simmons for the rest of the season, head coach Jacque Vaughn announced. pic.twitter.com/AWkeZrdK75
— ESPN (@espn) March 28, 2023
The news isn’t a huge surprise given that Vaughn told reporters over the weekend he wasn’t expecting Simmons to play again this season.
Simmons is currently sidelined with what the Nets say is a nerve impingement — the condition where tissue or bone compresses nerve fibers — in his back.
Simmons has missed 17 straight games and has 33 absences in 75 Nets games this season.
“For me as a coach, there’s some things that I can control, some things that I can’t control,” Vaughn said on Saturday. “What I can’t control is the impingement. What I can control is getting this group ready to play. And then in all honesty, the realism that he’s probably not going to join us for the rest of the year … certainty will come once he continues to be looked at by specialists.”
The Nets announced Friday that Simmons will continue being sidelined “while we determine the best long-term course of treatment.” What that means still isn’t fully clear, and the Nets won’t know until Simmons is further examined.
“We’re going to lean into the specialist and the consultation and I think those answers will come from the specialists,” Vaughn said then.
Simmons is a three-time All-Star who didn’t play at all last season, first citing mental health issues and then a back injury. He started last season with Philadelphia, then was sent to Brooklyn in the trade that brought James Harden to the 76ers.
He has missed games this season for a variety of reasons, including left knee soreness, a left calf strain and the back problem.
Simmons’ numbers this season are, by far, the worst of his career. He’s averaging only 6.9 points — he’s never been below 14.3 points per game in any of the other four seasons in which he played — and is shooting 44% from the foul line.
He last played Feb. 15, around the time he told reporters that he was uncertain about his role with the team and prompting Vaughn to say in response that the team also wasn’t sure how it would be able to use Simmons with new lineups following the trades of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Simmons is making $35.4 million this season, and is due $78.2 million more over the next two seasons.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.