Ben Simmons is an NBA medical mystery


Why did Ben Simmons miss the whole season?

Why did Ben Simmons miss the whole season?
picture: Getty Images

Mental health issues are not uncommon in the NBA. All-Stars like Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have openly discussed their struggles in recent years. However, Ben Simmons’ inability to overcome a mysterious mental block and his reluctance to talk about it have made him an NBA medical mystery.

I’m mainly saying that Simmons should be encouraged to speak openly about his Chaotic personal life, but the whiplash caused by his ever-changing reasons for not fitting in this season has been staggering. A month and a half after his debut against the Philadelphia 76ers, originally scheduled for March 10, Simmons pulled out of Brooklyn’s season finale, leaving everyone on a cliffhanger. What the hell is the matter with him?

Since then, Simmons’ return date has kept shifting. The March 10 appointment was pushed back to March 18 against Portland until March 15 when Simmons received an epidural for a herniated disc in his back. Nash also announced at the time that Simmons had an MRI that confirmed the back injury. It was then expected that he would return to the Nets before the postseason. Then, after two weeks without pain, Simmons was scheduled to compete in Game 4.

Disappointment has become Ben Simmons’ middle name. With the Nets trailing the Celtics 3-0 in the first round, that plan was mothballed after Simmons reportedly woke up Sunday morning with back pain related to a practice session before Game 3 on Saturday. Simmons was slammed for his lack of fire by Reggie Miller and just about anyone with a pulse.

Corresponding The Athletic Shams Charania, Simmons’ latest backlash sparked a meeting where the Nets forward revealed a connection that would explain the apparent contradictions between reports of his sanity and his limping back. The conversation between Simmons, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, and franchise officials reportedly explained a connection between his recurring back injury and the abstract mental health issues that have plagued him all season.

According to sources, Simmons told those present that he has a mental block, which stems in part from last summer’s postseason, which creates stress that could serve as a trigger for his back problems. He added that he wants to play basketball and play for the Nets while working on solutions to his well-being.

For Nets players, the confusion was not centered on Simmons’ illness but on a perceived lack of attempt to play, make an effort, be in uniform and push his body in these high-stakes playoffs, sources said. Nets players and coaches wanted Simmons to show determination and take part in this series to begin his tenure on the Brooklyn court, even if it was minutes or none on Monday while he was still dressing for the game .

Head coach Steve Nash, fending off questions about Simmons’ availability, was of no help.

“I said it recently that part of the decision has to be Ben’s,” Nash said. “I think he has to be all-in, so that’s part of the question. This is fair. It’s not all up to Ben. it’s not like, ‘Oh, come on. He didn’t play.’ No, this is a one-time situation. He has never played with his teammates and coming into a playoff situation after a long period of inactivity and injury is not easy. So no conclusions should be drawn.”

Understandably, coaches and players alike insisted on seeing Simmons a hard few minutes in an elimination match. They’re frustrated and their championship aspirations are kaboom! Meanwhile, the dichotomy of his former teammate Joel Embiid, acting through a torn ligament in his thumb while Simmons refuses to manage stress, sounds like a well-worn storyline from a show that’s many seasons behind it and is out of original ideas.

There was never a clear timeline for when Simmons’ back first flared up, but his mental block became an issue earlier this season when he refused to train or play with the 76ers. When he began citing his deteriorating mental health as a reason for Philadelphia to stop penalizing him for every missed game, that justification was derided as a ruse. His ongoing complaint against the 76ers for $20 million in withheld salary only perpetuated that belief.

Over time, however, Simmons’ elaborate “excuses” become even more convincing. Faking it would make Ben Simmons the true heir to The Process, for that level of commitment to lowering its worth is almost Sam Hinkie-esque. At this point, his mysterious back injuries could cost him in future contract negotiations. Stress is a part of playing high-stakes playoff basketball, which would explain much of Simmons’ no-shows in the playoffs. Has Simmons really been so stressed out by the criticism since last summer that he’s suffering from stress-related back injuries?

Bizarre from the start, the Ben Simmons saga continues to evolve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *