Ben Simmons’ return timeline has been shrouded in mystery ever since the blockbuster trade that sent him to Brooklyn. The Nets’ playoff chances in 2022 are currently hanging in the balance, and they could use all the help they can get to make a final push up the standings.

So is Ben Simmons going to return this season?

Ben Simmons return timeline

In a press conference last week regarding Simmons’ return update, Nets head coach Steve Nash said he is “extremely confident” that Simmons will play in the regular season. A few hours later Simmons received an epidural in his back. Did Nash not receive the medical report?

Brooklyn has 11 games left in the schedule, and Simmons hasn’t played competitive basketball since last year’s playoffs. How realistic is it to expect him to come back and have an impact in such a short period?

 
 
 
 

The truth is, the Nets are already struggling to find a rhythm with Kyrie Irving only playing away games. So how will this new Ben Simmons saga impact their playoff chances?

The race to the finish line

The Nets are currently sitting 8th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 37-34. To say their season was dramatic would be the understatement of the year. There’s Irving’s vaccination drama, Durant’s injuries, and Harden’s departure.

With all these distractions, it could get very difficult for a team to find a rhythm, especially with a sophomore head coach trying to manage it all.

Luckily for Brooklyn though, Durant is back in action and Irving is in great form when he’s allowed to suit up, so a push right now is very much needed.

They are only one game ahead of the Hornets and they have only three away games left on their schedule. This means that Kyrie will be sitting out eight of the remaining 11 games.

Dropping to 9th would mean an immediate elimination from the play-in tournament if they lose one of their two games. So Ben Simmons returning to action is almost a necessity before the season ends and the playoffs begin.

Ben Simmons injury history

According to the Nets’ injury update, Simmons is dealing with an irritation of the L-4 disc of his lower spine. Even with the epidural that Steve Nash seemed to know nothing about, Ben Simmons’ return timeline could be as far as the last couple of games of the season. Also, epidurals tend to mask symptoms instead of curing them.

Ben Simmons’ injury history is not enviable. In his rookie season, he did not play a single game due to a foot injury. In 2020, former Sixers head coach Brett Brown said that if the season hadn’t shut down due to COVID, Simmons wouldn’t have been able to play due to a nerve impingement in his back.

For a player Simmons’ age, he sure does seem to be injury-prone. Playing him now could be the wrong bet for Brooklyn in the long run.

In KD we trust

If the Nets have any reason to be hopeful it’s because of a very bad man named Kevin Durant. In all of this, he has been this team’s anchor. So whether Simmons returns or not, the Nets’ playoff chances in 2022 live and die with KD.

The Nets will make the playoffs — it would be foolish to bet against that. What’s interesting though, is who they play in the first round. It could be any of the Heat, Bucks, Celtics, or Sixers.

Whoever it is, one thing is for sure, KD will need all the firepower available in the Nets’ arsenal.

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