The Ben Simmons mystery deepens.
The Australian is yet to play for the Brooklyn Nets since his trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, sidelined by lingering back issues.
The latest report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania seemed to suggest that could change soon and, importantly, in time for the playoffs.
Although, one of Charania’s colleagues was hearing something very different, only adding to the confusion.
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Charania reported on Saturday that Simmons has resumed light on-court workouts and is hopeful of ramping up his development to be ready for the playoffs.
“Ben Simmons has resumed light on-court workouts sources tell me,” he said.
“The hope remains that he will be able to ramp up for a potential return in time for the playoffs. The Nets and Simmons have worked together on managing his back issues which flared up when he was previously aiming for a mid-March return, and now with the Nets jocking for playoff positions in the Eastern Conference, a Simmons return makes the team’s ceiling even greater for potentially deeper run.”
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon though also on Saturday reported that Simmons is “not close” to a return and could still miss the start of the playoffs and potentially the entire postseason.
At this point, as was the case with trade rumours, where the truth lies is anyone’s guess.
The situation is more clear at rivals Golden State.
LAKERS COULD BE BOOSTED BY LEBRON, AD COMEBACKS
The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing for the most important game of the season on Saturday [AEDT] against the New Orleans Pelicans.
And it looks like the Lakers could get both LeBron James and Anthony Davis back from injury for the game.
Both players were upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Saturday’s clash.
While not confirmation either will play, it means they are at least trending in the right direction.
The Lakers currently have a 31-45 record and sit 11th in the Western Conference, sitting just behind the Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs.
Frank Vogel said “if there is any chance” James and Davis can play against the Pelicans, they will.
“They want to get back as quickly as they can,” Vogel said but added “those are medical decision”.
STEPH WON’T RETURN BEFORE PLAYOFFS
Warriors star Stephen Curry, sidelined by a sprained ligament in his left foot, won’t return to action before the playoffs, the NBA team said Saturday.
In a statement posted on the team Twitter feed, the Warriors said Curry was making “good progress” in his recovery but wouldn’t play again in the regular season, which concludes on April 10.
“Stephen will gradually begin individual on-court activities next week, and his eventual return to practice will be based on his continued progress,” the Warriors said.
“Our next update on his status will be provided on April 11.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters the news was not a surprise.
“We were hoping maybe he’d play one or two games at the end of the regular season,” Kerr said.
“But that was always a long shot.”
Curry hasn’t played since he was hurt in a March 16 game against the Boston Celtics, when he was rolled on by Boston’s Marcus Smart as they chased a loose ball.
Curry was at practice on Saturday walking without a boot in a promising update.
Curry, the NBA’s all-time leader in three-point shots, was averaging 25.5 points per game and the Warriors are 1-6 since he’s been sidelined.
Although players including Jordan Poole have stepped up their offensive output, no one has filled the void left by Curry.
The Warriors are currently fourth in the Western Conference and have yet to officially clinch their playoff berth, although the could find themselves in on Friday if the Minnesota Timberwolves lose to the Denver Nuggets.
Kerr said Curry remains a key contributor to the playoff push.
“You can see him during practice, pulling guys aside, talking to them,” Kerr said. “He understands his value as a leader as well as an All-Star Player.”
And Kerr said he has no concerns that Curry will need time to ramp up when does return.
“All it takes is one shot and he’s back in rhythm,” Kerr said.