Ben Simmons’ absence for four straight games raised some eyebrows, but the Nets star told reporters that he felt great ahead of their game with the Dallas Mavericks.
He was anticipating playing in Monday night’s game in Dallas and was expecting to see around 20 minutes. Simmons had been dealing with some swelling and soreness in his left knee and he had been held out of the last four games for Brooklyn.
“Took a few days to get some rehab in and get it right. So I’m feeling great,” Simmons said before adding that he would play.
Simmons’ injury came amid a flurry of off-the-court drama that included more controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and then blowback over the possible replacement for fired head coach Steve Nash. The Nets had also gotten off to a rocky start to the year as well before putting together two wins on the road over Washington and Charlotte.
It was unclear what role Simmons would play for the Nets against Dallas or if he would be in the starting lineup or come off the bench. Asked whether the knee would be something he’d need to continue to manage, Simmons noted that he has to manage every part of his body as an athlete.
“As an athlete your whole body you have to manage, even with my back, something I continue to work on,” he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “Coming back there’s gonna be different quirks like that with my body that I have to maintain & stay on top of.”
Simmons himself had not had the hottest start to the season either and has been under the microscope since he stepped back onto the court.
He had been getting back into the swing of things after missing all of last season while he dealt with his mental health and then suffered a back injury during the ramp-up process after the Nets traded for him in February. Simmons had been envisioned to be part of reimagined “Big 3” for the Nets when they acquired him, but that could be in peril after the latest events in Kings County.
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Irving is currently suspended after tweeting out a link to a film filled with antisemitic rhetoric and is slated to meet with NBA commissioner Adam Silver this week. And Kevin Durant could very well tire of the continuous drama that engulfs Barclays Center.
He had originally requested a trade over the summer, but rescinded it prior to the start of training camp.