When Ben Simmons was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February, basketball fans anticipated his return to the court. Sadly, that return never came even despite multiple reports hinting of his comeback in Game 4:
Within hours of his planned season debut, Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons reported a return of back soreness on Sunday, sources told ESPN, and has been ruled out for Monday's Game 4 against the Boston Celtics.
After approximately 10 days of pain-free ramp up following recovery from a herniated disc, Simmons' admission at the team practice facility was met with surprise and disappointment. On the brink of a sweep to the Celtics, the Nets had hoped Simmons would be in uniform and active with the hope of coach Steve Nash using him in limited minutes, sources said.
It was the breaking point for many fans, who proceeded to bash Simmons for failing to show up to play this year. According to Nets GM Sean Marks, however, the back problems are real and required surgery after it was revealed the herniation had expanded:
"Sean Marks said Ben Simmons had a follow-up MRI after the back soreness returned before Game 4 and it revealed the herniation had expanded. At that point, the only option was surgery."
On the surface, you can't blame fans for questioning the severity of Simmons' back injury. After his antics in Philadelphia, it's impossible to tell if he feels any commitment to his team or the game itself at this point.
The best anyone can hope for now is that he starts fresh next season and helps to elevate the Nets to a state of contention in the East. After everything that has transpired over the past year, Ben owes it to the fans and his teammates to bring the best version of himself out there on the floor in October.