Brooklyn Nets coach shoots down new claims about Ben Simmons

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Steve Nash and Ben Simmons, pictured here during the NBA playoffs.
Steve Nash has spoken out about Ben Simmons' potential return for the Nets. Image: Getty

Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash has shot down reports that Ben Simmons is eyeing a long-awaited return to the court in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics.

Simmons sat out the first part of the season in a dispute with the Philadelphia 76ers.

And the Aussie hasn't played since his trade-deadline deal to the Nets in February because of a back injury.

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But ESPN reported on Wednesday that Simmons could even potentially be cleared to play Saturday in Game 3, based on the Nets' policy for injured players that requires three contact practice sessions before playing in a game.

However Nash said later on Wednesday: "That's news to me."

“I don’t think we’re targeting any game. I think we’re trying to see how he develops, how he progresses and that’s something that, with the recent history since the trade, has not been straightforward.

“So while it’s exciting to see him on the floor and see him make progress, I don’t think any of us are saying it’s imminent.”

Nash said Simmons held up to contact on Monday and was expected to participate in a contact workout and play 4-on-4 on Wednesday.

"I wouldn't be able to say anything about (Game 3 availability)," Nash said.

"We have to also consider it's a nine-month absence or whatever it is, so it's not just like he had a six-week absence, so I think this is a pretty unique scenario.

"It's not as linear as maybe the other kind of in-season injuries."

Nash said he believes Simmons can "physically adapt" to live action and is spending time daily with shooting coach Kyle Korver to improve his range and touch.

Ben Simmons, pictured here during Game 2 between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.
Ben Simmons looks on during Game 2 between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brooklyn Nets crumble late in Game 2 loss to Celtics

Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics rallied from 17 points down to beat the Nets 114-107 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

Jayson Tatum added 19 points for the Celtics, who held Kevin Durant without a basket in the second half.

Al Horford had 16 points, Daniel Theis scored 15 and Payton Pritchard had eight of his 10 in the final period.

Durant finished with 27 points but struggled from the field for the second-straight game, shooting just 4 from 17.

Seth Curry and Jaylen Brown, pictured here in action during Game 2 between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
Seth Curry and Jaylen Brown in action during Game 2 between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving had just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, one day after being fined $50,000 for directing obscene gestures and profane language at Celtics fans during Game 1.

The TD Garden faithful peppered Irving with boos throughout Game 2, beginning with the pre-game introductions.

The volume ratcheted up after tip-off with the addition of “Kyrie sucks! Kyrie sucks!” chants on each of Brooklyn’s first two possessions. The boos returned whenever he got his hands on the ball.

The series shifts to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Saturday night.

with agencies

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