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Kevin Durant Gets Real On the Return Of Ben Simmons: "In My Mind, I’m Preparing As If We’re Playing With The Team We Have.”

Kevin Durant Gets Real On the Return Of Ben Simmons: "In My Mind, I’m Preparing As If We’re Playing With The Team We Have.”

As the Brooklyn Nets prepare for their first-round matchup against Boston, the potential return of Ben Simmons looms overhead.

Ben, who has not played since the 2021 playoffs, is rumored to be making his comeback as early as Game 4 in this series against Boston.

"I am told that Ben Simmons is targeting Game 4, 5, or 6 for making his Brooklyn Nets debut. My response was 'is he even playing 5-on-5 yet?' And the answer to that is no but the hope is that by the end of the week he can ramp up to that So that is still some time, we're talking about over 7 days. It's a big ask, but I have to say that, really, for 7-8 weeks now I've heard nothing but pessimism on the Ben Simmons front, and that has switched dramatically in the last few days..."

Obviously, having Simmons back would be an enormous boost for Brooklyn, and could propel them deep into the playoffs.

For Kevin Durant, though, he isn't even thinking about it. Speaking to the media ahead of Game 1, the 2x Champion gave his view on the possible return of Ben and that he has no expectations at all on how soon he might be made available.

“I’m not expecting him to play,” Durant said. “That’s easier for me. I’m not putting any pressure on Ben to come out there and hoop. So I’m not expecting him to do anything but just to get his body right and get healthy as fast as he can. So in my mind, I’m preparing as if we’re playing with the team we have.”

When asked what kind of lift Simmons might provide to his team, Durant only doubled down on his earlier comment.

“I’m not even thinking about that,” Durant said. “We all know what type of player Ben is. And you can put together scenarios in your mind on your own on what it would look like, but I’m not going to go there because we’re just taking it a day at a time.”

The Nets do not have an easy assignment in Round 1. They will face a young and hungry Celtics team that has been one of the best defensive clubs in the league.

Even with Simmons, there's a chance the Nets will be sent home.

Whether or not Durant wants to think about it, his team can use all the help they can get trying to best the East's 2nd seed.