BOSTON (CBS) -- Ben Simmons has yet to play a game for the Brooklyn Nets. He hasn't suited up for any game since June 20, 2021, when he was passing up an open dunk in Game 7 of the second-round during a Philadelphia 76ers loss.
But according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Simmons is eyeing Monday night's Game 4 against the Celtics for his Brooklyn debut. Simmons sat out the start of the season as he engaged in a war of words with Philadelphia, and has been rehabbing a back injury since he was acquired by the Nets in a blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to the 76ers. If his rehab continues on the right path over the next few days, he'll be in the Nets lineup for Game 4 against Boston.
It's interesting that the Nets would throw him out there for his first game with a new team after a 10-month layoff. But Brooklyn has its back against the wall, down 2-0 to Boston after the Celtics won the first two games of the series on their home court.
Asked about a potential upcoming Simmons debut ahead of Wednesday night's Game 2, Nets head coach Steve Nash was caught by surprise that a possible date was set. He could just be posturing to keep Boston guessing, but he seemed to have his doubts on Simmons joining the team for the series.
The Celtics know Simmons pretty well from his time with the 76ers, and Boston head coach Ime Udoka coached him as an assistant in Philadelphia two years ago. He's a big question mark on offense, but is among the better defenders in the NBA when he's healthy.
Throwing him into the playoff fire with a new team -- a team that will be trailing in the series at that -- may not be the most ideal situation for Simmons. But with the way the Celtics have played during the first two games of the series, Simmons' first game with his new team may also be the Nets' last of the season.
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