NBA

Ben Simmons will not make Nets debut this week

By Sports Desk February 28, 2022

Ben Simmons will not make his debut for the Brooklyn Nets this week, though Kevin Durant is getting closer to a return from injury.

Simmons has yet to play for the Nets since this month's blockbuster trade that ended his stand-off with the Philadelphia 76ers, with James Harden going in the other direction.

During his introductory media conference, Simmons had said he hoped to be ready to make his season debut against the Sixers in Philadelphia or March 10.

That prospect appears less and less likely after Nets head coach Steve Nash revealed Simmons, who has struggled with a back issue since the Nets upped his workload in practice, is not close to being ready to play.

Speaking ahead of the Nets' clash with the Toronto Raptors on Monday, Nash said: "Ben is still working through a number of things and reconditioning so he's not gonna play this week but we'll keep working on his timeline and hopefully he can progress.

There is better news on Durant as he looks to make his return from a left knee sprain. He will not play in either of the Nets' successive games with the Raptors but could feature against the Miami Heat on Thursday or the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

"Kevin's getting close, we're hopeful that he can play this week," added Nash. "He won't play tonight or tomorrow but hopeful I guess that [his return] would be Thursday or Sunday."

The Nets are 32-29, eight games back of the Eastern Conference-leading Heat having lost seven of their last 10 games.

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