Nets star Ben Simmons opened up about both his mental and physical health in a sit-down interview with free agent shooting guard JJ Redick on an episode of Redick’s podcast, The Old Man and the Three, that aired Thursday morning. Simmons, who hasn’t spoken publicly since arriving in Brooklyn in the midseason megadeal between the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers that also included former league MVP James Harden, broke his silence on his back injury and surgery, his exit from Philadelphia, the playoff series loss against Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks and dealing with the ridicule that has come with not having a jump shot despite owning an otherwise complete basketball game.
Simmons also publicly denied a report suggesting he left a Nets team group chat after his teammates asked him whether or not he would play in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics last season.
“No I didn’t,” he said. “That’s what I hate about the internet is fu—ng people just make anything up and it just gets taken too far… There was no one even talking in the group chat when we got to the playoffs. So, no, I didn’t leave a group chat.”
He also said that this Nets’ roster is like the 76ers’ roster “on steroids.”
“I think this team is a great fit for what I do and what I bring to the game,” he said. I think it’s Philly on steroids kind of, in terms of what we had when you [Redick] were there and Marco [Belinelli] and Ersan [Ilyasova]. It’s exciting, knowing I’m playing with those guys and knowing their games and knowing I don’t have to guard Kyrie [Irving] and Kevin [Durant].
HOW SIMMONS HURT HIS BACK
Simmons had dealt with lingering back issues during his playing days in Philadelphia, but while attempting to make a comeback for the Nets after his trade to Brooklyn, the back issue flared up once again.
“I was actually going up the stairs [when I hurt my back],” Simmons told Redick. “So initially I had some kind of soreness in my back when I was working out, then I went to go run up the stairs and my whole right side just dropped. And as soon as I went upstairs, I laid down and I could not move.”
Simmons received an epidural to alleviate the pain in his lower back and the shot allowed him to resume ramping up his conditioning. He ultimately never advanced to five-on-five workouts and had another back flare-up ahead of Game 4 against the Celtics.
Simmons underwent a microdiscectomy on the L4-5 disc in his lower back during the offseason.
“It’s tough,” he said. “The first few weeks I’m not doing anything, but I walked out of surgery.”
DOES SIMMONS NEED TO SHOOT THREES?
The biggest knock on Simmons’ game has been his inability to shoot perimeter jump shots. He is a perennial candidate for First Team All-Defense and is one of the NBA’s best playmakers and athletes at his size, but his reluctance to …read more
Source:: The Mercury News