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May 5, 2022 2:54 pm

Nets G Ben Simmons (back surgery) to begin rehab in 3 weeks

Brooklyn point guard Ben Simmons underwent successful back surgery Thursday to alleviate pain caused by the herniated disc and is expected to return for his debut with the Nets in the 2022-23 preseason.

“Following an initial recovery period of approximately three weeks, Simmons will begin a rehabilitation program,” the Nets said in a release Thursday.

Simmons and the Nets expect him to be ready for training camp, the team said. He will be in the third year of a $177 million contract he signed before the 2020 season with a salary of $35,448,672. His final two seasons (2023-24 and 2024-25) include a total base salary over $78 million.

All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have also committed to returning to the Nets and are under contract.

However, the Nets planned to have Simmons on the court one month after he was acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 10.

But Simmons, who forced his way out of Philadelphia in a dispute with coach Doc Rivers and co-star Joel Embiid, ran into repeated setbacks. When his initial goal of playing March 10 at Philadelphia was scrapped, Simmons opted for an epidural injection in late March.

He was cleared for contact at the start of the playoffs, practiced three consecutive days as per team policy, and was set to suit up for Game 4 of the Nets-Boston Celtics series. He informed the team the day before that game he was still experiencing back problems.

The Nets acquired Simmons at the trade deadline along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks, with James Harden and Paul Millsap shipped to the 76ers.

Simmons’ last game was June 20, 2021, and also his final game in a 76ers uniform, during a postseason loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Simmons, 25, is a three-time All-Star over his four NBA seasons, scoring 15.9 points with 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists in 275 career games, all starts with the 76ers. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Sixers out of LSU in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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