Aust NBA star Simmons out for three weeks

By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent
Philadelphia 76ers' Australian star Ben Simmons will not play for at least another three weeks

Ben Simmons' return to the Philadelphia 76ers for the NBA Playoffs and for Australia at the Tokyo Olympics is looking shaky.

The Australian All-Star will not play for at least another three weeks as he attempts to overcome a nerve impingement in his lower back, The Athletic reported on Wednesday.

The playoffs start in five weeks.

Simmons has sat out the past two weeks after being diagnosed with the pinched nerve.

He will continue rehab and be re-evaluated in three weeks.

The 76ers have had a horrid run in Simmons' absence with All-Star centre Joel Embiid suffering a shoulder strain and starting guard Josh Richardson missing games with a concussion.

The 76ers, one of the favourites at the start of the season to win this year's NBA title, have slid down to sixth in the Eastern Conference.

The playoffs begin on April 18 and the Olympics start July 24.