Ben Simmons training gives Nets hope he can play in the postseason

For the first time since joining the Nets, Ben Simmons attended the pre-game warm-up at the Barclays Center. And while he watched the regular-season finals from the bench, there’s at least some hope he can make his postseason debut, but there are still some steps to go before he gets there.

“Who knows? There’s no timeline for his return at this point, so he clearly has some markings to make,” said Steve Nash. “He’s not even going flat out on the court or on the pole, so the timeline isn’t set. We We’ll just keep coaching him and play here as a group and Ben will keep working hard and rehab and whenever the time comes we’ll be grateful.”

After a league source told The Post that Simmons’ L-4 herniated disc had improved enough to do more exercise and even hop on an AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill, he was ahead of Sunday’s win against Indiana on the court and shot.

Ben Simmons is training before the Nets defeat the Pacers on Sunday.

“I think he’s doing AlterG, which obviously isn’t carrying the full weight,” Nash said. “I wouldn’t say there’s any conditioning going on. He has moved a bit, but not yet at full speed.”

Ahead of the game, both ESPN and Athletic reported that there was hope that if Simmons continued to improve and ease the pain in his back, he could return for at least part-time service in the first round. But Nash dampened expectations.

“He’s doing a bit of exercise. Nonetheless, one-to-zero things. He still has many milestones to reach. But it’s positive; At least he’s moving a bit,” Nash said, adding Simmons kept the morale up. “He looks really positive and happy and encouraged and just working on his rehab.”

Kevin Durant (20 points, 10 rebounds, career-high 16 assists) had a career-high fourth triple-double of the season in the 134-126 win over the Pacers.

Goran Dragic (Health & Safety Protocols) is back in Brooklyn and has been feeling better for four or five days. The return to the lineup for Tuesday’s play-in game against Cleveland is still up in the air.

“It totally depends on whether he gets out of the logs,” Nash said. “If he gets out of the logs he could play on Tuesday. But we’ll have to see if he can figure it out himself. It is possible.”

The Nets converted rookie Kessler Edwards’ two-way deal to a standard NBA contract on Sunday, qualifying him for both the play-in and playoffs.

“Just a long year of hard work and going through all the ups and downs that I’ve been through and I think I’ve somehow been rewarded for being able to play in the playoffs,” Edwards said. “So I’m very happy about that.”

Kessler Edwards
Kessler Edwards
Getty Images

According to Hooopshype, the deal runs through the end of this season with a team option for next year. League rules limited Brooklyn to inking Edwards to a two-year minimum contract. The move also prevented the 21-year-old from becoming a restricted free agent this summer.

To convert the Edwards deal, the Nets gave up James Johnson, 35, the only unfortunate part of the situation.

“Yes, it definitely is,” Edwards said. “It sucks that it had to be like this, especially someone like James Johnson, someone I really looked up to and gave me a lot of confidence to get to this point. So yes, it definitely is.” Ben Simmons training gives Nets hope he can play in the postseason


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