Mental and physical health keep Ben Simmons out of the Nets lineup

After Nets Messing allegedly met with Ben Simmons and his agent on Monday afternoon – to discuss the physical and mental issues still holding him back from his season debut – Steve Nash confirmed that it’s not just his physical health that’s the problem paused All-Star is struggling.

“I don’t want to exaggerate my understanding of the situation because I’m not in Ben’s shoes. It’s very important for me not to speak for Ben because I don’t understand what he’s going through,” Nash said. “Everything has a mental component. Ben has addressed that there is a mental component to what he is going through; but how much and where he is with it, I can’t talk about that.”

Simmons and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul met with Nets general manager Sean Marks ahead of Brooklyn’s Do-or-Die First Round Game 4, according to ESPN.

Simmons – whose desire to play has been questioned by Hall of Famers including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller – reiterated to team officials that he wants to play as soon as possible. The team assured Simmons and his camp that they will help him as best they can.

Ben Simmons

“As an organization we’re really pushing to support Ben in any way we can to help him improve physically and get back on the pitch and the mental side of that is an integral part,” Nash said. “They are not separated.

“They’re not something we don’t want to deal with. We want to help if he needs help in any aspect of his life and game. He’s a cornerstone so we want to help him feel great, play great and become a part of this team.”

You need him for that. Because Nash is right: you have an obligation, for better or for worse. Simmons has three years and $114 million left on the contract.

Simmons was preparing for the game but suffered an L-4 herniated disc in his lower back that required an epidural in mid-March.

Several orthopedists told the Post that Simmons is likely to miss the rest of the season, and a source close to the player added: “It’s just a matter of timing. The problem is that the season is coming to an end.”

It may have expired. Brooklyn went 3-0 down on Monday and faces elimination. And after three painless contact practice sessions last week – which led to reports he would make his Game 4 debut – Simmons told the Nets on Sunday his back is now sore again.

Steve Nash
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“I’m not sure setback is the right word. I don’t know what to call it. He’s still trying to strengthen and get himself into a position where he can play,” Nash said. “He might feel great today, he might feel poor tomorrow. I think that’s the landscape we’re in with his back.”

Simmons hasn’t had another MRI scan or been eliminated from Game 5 if there is one. But from Simmons’ flashy attire to that sudden heel turn and disappointment that he wasn’t on the court for an eliminator and likely won’t be playing with his teammates until next season, there were eyebrows raised on the inside.

“I would be careful not to take disappointment out of context. Of course we’re all disappointed,” Nash said. “We’d love to see Ben on the floor with our teammates, but I don’t want people to get the impression that I’m disappointed in Ben or anything. no His back is his back and we have to get through this and he has to keep fighting. … But yeah, of course we’d love to see Ben with our boys.”

Both Nash and a source close to Simmons expect him to avoid off-season surgery. But it’s a tough blow to take down a former MVP and get back a player who’s not just struggling with mental health issues, and there’s no guarantee it will be resolved next year either.

“It’s a shame for him. I know he probably wanted to be out there to play with us and have a setback,” Nic Claxton said. “I know it sucks for us and it sucks for him.” Mental and physical health keep Ben Simmons out of the Nets lineup


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