Nets to miss ‘point forward’ Ben Simmons for at least 3 games

Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets
Oct 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons (10) dribbles the ball against against Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) in the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Just as when Ben Simmons is starting to find his groove, disaster strikes anew.

The Brooklyn Nets announced ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards that Ben Simmons would miss the next three games due to a left lateral upper calf strain. He will be re-evaluated after the Nets’ rematch with last season’s playoffs conqueror Boston Celtics on Sunday.

Simmons had been playing his best stretch since a 470-day layoff, averaging 13.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks in 31.4 minutes before experiencing knee soreness in Monday’s win against the Orlando Magic. He left the game with 9:03 left in the second quarter.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn attributed the injury to the accumulation of the heavy load Simmons had in the past seven games before Monday’s game.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had to carry more load with Simmons out again.

“Health is the number one priority, so we want him to be at his best. I’m glad our medical staff, coaching staff, and he himself, we all agreed he’d sit down in the second half to save him for games that matter going into the future, not that these games don’t matter, but in the games that we’re going to need him most.

But when he’s not out there, we don’t have our point forward, our point guard, being able to initiate easy opportunities, and push the ball in transition, so we’ll definitely miss him in the lineup. Hopefully, he comes back [soon], but if he’s dealing with it we just want him to get as healthy as possible, and we’ll figure it out.”

Kyrie Irving postgame via NBA.com

Without Simmons, the Nets played smaller. They needed Kevin Durant to score 45 points to beat the rebuilding Magic and climb to .500.

The Nets are gunning for their first winning record this season against a resurgent Washington Wizards, with the 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis fresh from a career-high 41-point gem.

Simmons already missed five games — four straight from last month to the first week of November and the Nov. 13 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers — due to a sore knee.

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