Nets’ Ben Simmons out next three games; Yuta Watanabe to miss 1 week

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

Ben Simmons left Monday’s Nets’ win with a knee issue and now it will cost him three games before the team reevaluates his status. 

The Nets announced late Wednesday afternoon that the point guard would be sidelined by a left lateral upper calf strain. Head coach Jacque Vaughn said the issue was with the upper part of Simmons’ calf on the back of the knee, which had been revealed after the team did some imaging. 

“That’s what we are and then we’ll get to a point where we’ll take a look at him after that,” Vaughn said. “But it ended up being an upper calf strain. We’ll see where he’s at after these three games that he’ll miss.”

Simmons came out around the 9:03 mark of the second quarter and went to the Nets’ dressing room shortly thereafter. The team announced that he would not return during halftime. 

This marks the second time that Simmons will miss an extended period of time this season due to an injury. A knee issue kept him out for four games in late October and early November and he was held out of the Nets’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers this month as well. 

Simmons had been playing pretty consistently of late since returning and had started to turn a corner in his play. Prior to Monday’s game, Simmons grabbed a team-high 12 boards in Brooklyn’s win over Portland on Sunday. 

Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons walks the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Philadelphia.AP Photo/Matt Slocum

When asked if the number of games that Simmons had been playing contributed to the latest setback, Vaughn didn’t want to point to that as a reason. 

“I don’t know if we can pinpoint and say it was one thing or another,” Vaughn said. “Acute injury could have been an accumulation of games. We had five (games) in seven (nights). That could have definitely contributed to it. He doesn’t remember a specific event that happened in the game. I think it’s on us to be smart when he does come back. Does that mean minute restrictions? Maybe so.

“Does that mean not playing back the backs? maybe so. Nothing is out of the realm of considering what’s best for the team, which we’ll always consider, but we want each individual to be available to play every single game. That’s the goal.”

Vaughn was seen sitting with Simmons prior to Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards and the Nets coach said that he had been going through what the next steps were for Simmons. 

“My reiteration of the consistency and the habits in between this time of treatment, recovery, staying locked into your teammates, continue to converse with me, what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing well. So that conversation he and I just had 15 minutes right before this,” Vaughn said. 

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Simmons hadn’t been the only player that Brooklyn announced would miss some time going forward. In the same announcement, the Nets said that Yuta Watanabe would be out for at least another week. 

MRI results on his hamstring from Monday had come back “consistent” with the one they had taken last week. 

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