The Brooklyn Nets are not expecting guard Ben Simmons to play again this season, though no final decision will be made until the three-time All-Star meets with a back specialist, coach Jacque Vaughn said Saturday.
Simmons is currently sidelined with what the Nets say is a nerve impingement — the condition where tissue or bone compresses nerve fibers — in his back.
Saturday’s game at Miami marked the 16th in a row that Simmons has missed, and his 32nd absence in 74 Nets games this season.
“For me as a coach, there’s some things that I can control, some things that I can’t control,” Vaughn said.
“What I can’t control is the impingement.
“We’re going to lean into the specialist and the consultation and I think those answers will come from the specialists,” Vaughn said.
Simmons is a three-time All-Star who didn’t play at all last season, first citing mental health issues and then a back injury.
He’s averaging only 6.9 points — he’s never been below 14.3 points per game in any of the other four seasons in which he played — and is shooting 44% from the foul line.
He last played Feb. 15, around the time he told reporters that he was uncertain about his role with the team and prompting Vaughn to say in response that the team also wasn’t sure how it would be able to use Simmons with new lineups following the trades of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.