Ben Simmons' situation at the under-fire Brooklyn Nets has gone from bad to worse, with the Aussie star set to be sidelined for longer than expected.
The Nets are already dealing with the fallout from Steve Nash's sacking as coach, as well as the anti-semitic controversy surrounding star point guard Kyrie Irving.
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Now new Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn has the added headache of dealing with a Simmons injury concern that's set to sideline the Aussie for at least the next two games.
Simmons has missed the last two games with knee soreness, with his latest prognosis set to rule him out for at least four in a row for the Nets.
Vaughn said on Thursday after practice that Simmons has been getting treatment in the hopes of reducing the swelling in his knee.
The Nets coach said Simmons wouldn't play at Washington on Friday or at Charlotte on Saturday, although he didn't rule out the Aussie being ready on Monday at Dallas, in the final game of the trip.
Simmons - the No.1 pick in the 2016 draft - has looked short of form and confidence in early action this season after missing all of last season.
Simmons eventually had surgery to repair a herniated disc. So far this season he has averaged 6.2 points in Brooklyn's first six games, before missing the last two.
The Simmons blow comes as the Nets attempt to deal with the fallout of the latest drama engulfing star point guard, Irving, who sparked widespread backlash for tweeting a link to a film containing antisemitic material last week.
Sad to hear that the nba season has been canceled. (James Harden is out with a foot injury and Ben Simmons is out with a knee issue)
— Kylie Cheung (@kylietcheung) November 3, 2022
Ben Simmons doesn't like basketball enough. I don't even doubt his current injury. The first sentence will always be the ultimate issue tho. Pour one out for ovokrystel
— 360p (@PaulTweetz2Much) November 3, 2022
An injury prone non shooting point guard making 40 million a year, could only happen to us man
— NetsMax (@Nba77777778) November 3, 2022
Quite impressive how the Nets have managed to have TWO players under max contracts who may be out of the league entirely by the end of the season.
— Joey Buckets (@joey_buckets3) November 3, 2022
Nets dealing with fallout from Kyrie Irving tweet
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Irving “made a reckless decision" by tweeting the link, before seeking an apology from the player that has not exactly been forthcoming.
Irving said some things in “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” were untrue, but he didn't say he shouldn't have posted a link to it. “I’m not the one who made the documentary,” Irving said after Nets practice on Thursday.
The star guard said he meant no harm in posting the tweet — which he has since deleted — but didn't apologise for doing so and instead asked reporters why they weren't asking questions about the history of Blacks in America, saying 300 million of his ancestors are buried in the country.
“Where were you guys asking those same questions when I was a kid learning about the traumatic events of my familial history and what I’m proud to come from and proud to stand here," Irving said, "and why when I repeat myself that I’m not going to stand down, it has nothing to do with dismissing any other race or group people.
“I’m just proud of my heritage and what we’ve been through and the fact that this has pinned me against the Jewish community and I’m here answering questions of whether or not I’m sorry or not about something I didn’t create and was something I shared, and I’m telling everybody I’m taking responsibility, than that’s where I sit.”
Irving and the Nets announced this week that, in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League, each would be donating $500,000 to anti-hate causes. But Silver felt Irving needed to go further.
“While we appreciate the fact that he agreed to work with the Brooklyn Nets and the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicise,” the commissioner said.
Silver added that he will be meeting with Irving in person within the next week. The league’s first statement, clearly in reference to Irving’s tweet, said “hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and runs counter to the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect.”
The NBA Commissioner's comments and Irving's reluctance to apologise came hours before the FBI said it had received credible information about a “broad” threat to synagogues in New Jersey, which is Irving's home state.
During his first comments since a combative press conference Saturday in which he defended his right to post, Irving was asked specifically about his beliefs regarding the Holocaust.
“Those falsehoods are unfortunate,” Irving said, referring to content in the film. “And it’s not that I don’t believe in the Holocaust. I never said that. Never, ever have said it. It’s not come out of my mouth. I never tweeted it. I never liked anything like it. So the Holocaust in itself is an event that means something to a large group of people that suffered something that could have been avoided.”
He was finally asked if he had any antisemitic beliefs, to which Irving replied: “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from."
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