With surgery out of the way, Brooklyn Nets hope to help ‘build’ Ben Simmons back up

Ben Simmons Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets injured guard Ben Simmons (10) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While a lot of the focus of Wednesday’s press conference centered around the future of Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks had some good news to discuss when it came to Ben Simmons. 

The yet-to debut Net underwent successful back surgery last week and is expected to take three weeks to recover before starting a rehabilitation program.  Marks said that he has heard nothing but positive things from Simmons since the surgery. 

“He’s feeling relief already, feeling great,” Marks said. 

Simmons has not played an NBA game since June 20, 2021 and sat out this season to deal with his mental health. After he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February he began to go through reconditioning to get back on the floor, which is when Simmons’ back issues flared up. 

First, the Brooklyn Nets labeled them as back spasms before it was revealed to be a herniated disc. The hope is that the surgery will eliminate one issue that has kept Simmons from playing and being a key piece of the organization that they had envisioned when he first arrived. 

Now the focus has become making sure Simmons is given the proper support to work through any mental health roadblocks. 

“Post-surgery now, I don’t want to speak for him, but I can sense there’s a relief. There’s a new lease on life sort of speak,” Marks said. “So your question is, how do we support him through the mental performance side of things. That’s a touchy subject and I don’t want to talk about somebody’s mental health or mental performance I’m gonna let Ben address that at the correct time.”

Ben Simmons Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons (10) at Barclays Center.Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

However, Marks did say that Ben Simmons isn’t alone in what he has gone through and that many people should be able to relate, especially after the past two years of COVID. 

“This is something where we all need support and we’re coming through it,” the Nets GM said. “The same for Ben and we’re going to be doing everything we possibly can to get him around our group. That is the key. He needs to be in here, smell the gym again. Around his friends, around his family and participate. And let us help him build the culture together, build up together. 

“Build him back up cause as Steve (Nash) alluded to he is a big, big part of this.” 

Simmons’ defensive prowess certainly is one of the main reasons that the Nets were drawn to making a deal to acquire the point guard. It was also something that Brooklyn had been sorely missing during their first-round series loss to the Boston Celtics. 

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And going forward it sounded like Simmons’ skillset fit into whatever Marks is planning going forward. 

“He plugs a lot of holes that we think we potentially have and with him in there it’s a different dynamic out there,” Marks said. “It’s a different dynamic for not only his teammates, what they’ll be asked to do in the roles that they’ll have to cover, but also the coaching staff. So that they can put people in places where they were honestly brought here to do and not have to try and fill a different role.”