The Ben Simmons health saga took multiple twists and turns this season. Simmons didn’t play for the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets this last year due to mental health struggles and a back injury.

When Simmons was first traded for James Harden, fans were excited to see the three-time All-Star contribute as a two-way playmaker they’ve seen him grow into since he entered the public eye at Montverde. Word from the Nets camp also played into Simmons suiting up and was hopeful that he could play at some point during the regular-season and the playoffs.

Simmon’s playing reached its highest point when the Nets announced he was cleared for contact. However, that was the closest Simmons would get to playing despite reports of him looking to return during the playoffs.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Simmons’ back injury was debilitating enough that he elected not to play at all despite Woj reporting in that same story that Simmons was given the green-light to play in Games 4 against the Boston Celtics. According to Ric Bucher of FS1, Simmons reportedly took exception to his teammates asking him if he could play during the Nets’ eventual first-round loss to Boston.

“They’re having a team chat before Game 4, thinking he’s going to play against the Celtics, and from what I’m told, Ben just left the chat,” Ric Bucher told Colin Cowherd on FS1’s The Herd. “They asked him, ‘Are you going to play?’ Ben left the chat. Like he didn’t even answer the question. Just left the chat.

Simmons ultimately had a microdiscectomy surgery to “address pain located in a herniated disk in his lower back,” per Woj. The timetable for Simmons’ return is expected to be three to fourth months while he rehabilitates his ailing back. When Simmons comes back, the Nets hope the All-NBA version of Simmons will be able to add some versatility and elite athleticism to a lineup that needed some defensive acumen and fast-paced offense.

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