Simmons, who already missed several games this season because of a back injury, has missed the past three games due to a left upper lateral calf strain on top of experiencing some knee soreness. He first felt irritation in his calf on Nov.27 when Brooklyn took on the Portland Trail Blazers and later felt it again on Nov.28 against the Orlando Magic.
The only difference between these two games was Simmons asking to come out after playing 11 minutes in the matchup with Orlando and didn’t return. The Nets forward logged 34 minutes versus Portland despite experiencing discomfort in his calf. Since being sidelined, the 26-year-old has progressed his calf and knee. He has reached a point where he is now excited to be where he is in the recovery.
“I’m excited where I’m at right now,” Simmons said after practice on Tuesday with the Nets. “So I’m looking for Friday to get back on the court – It’s a lot of load for coming back from a back injury and then also the knee, so I’m glad I had this time to build some muscle around it, and we’ll work on it.”
The three-time All-Star continued to touch on how the back surgery he had over the summer may be related to his recent injuries on his knee and calf.
“I think it’s all related,” Simmons said. “When you start talking about back injuries, you start using different muscles; you want to load and lean or whatever it is. I think they all relate in some aspect.”
Moving forward, Simmons plans on being more careful with his minutes. Whether or not he can play both games during back-to-backs is now in question.
“I think we’re definitely going to look at it a lot different,” Simmons said. “I don’t know if it’s measuring minutes, maybe not back-to-backs, whatever it is. I think that’s going to be a joint thing with the training staff and myself and letting them know how I’m feeling.”
So far this year, Simmons is averaging a career-low 8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. Brooklyn (13-12) currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference. If this team looks to reach its full potential down the line, they are definitely going to need Simmons.
The Nets will take on the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday in their next game.
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