Ben Simmons last appeared for the Nets on Feb. 15, in a win over the Heat, missing the last six weeks with a knee and back issues. Now, his season has officially come to a close, according to Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn.
After hinting at the move over the weekend, Vaughn told reporters Tuesday that the team’s major 2022 acquisition has been ruled out for the rest of the year, as the Nets prepare for the postseason.
Last week, Simmons was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back, the latest in a run of injuries that have cost him most of the last two seasons. The 26-year-old, former All-Star missed the entire 2021–22 season, during which he was traded from Philadelphia to Brooklyn in a deal centered on James Harden. He returned to play for the Nets this fall, but failed to produce anywhere near his previous level, averaging just 6.9 points along with 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 42 games, all career lows. Simmons shot 56.6% from the field, though he did not attempt a three-pointer on the year, and hit a career-worst 43.9% from the free throw line.
The Nets, 40–35, are currently tied with the Heat for sixth-place in the Eastern Conference with seven regular season games left to play.