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Simmons likely away from Nets for rest of season with back injury

Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said forward Ben Simmons will likely be away from the team for the rest of the season.

"In all honesty he’s probably not going to join us for the rest of the year," Vaughn told reporters, including the New York Post's Brian Lewis.

There will be no final decision on Simmons' return this season until he meets with a back specialist, Vaughn added, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Simmons was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back on Friday. The 26-year-old has missed the Nets' last 15 games due to back inflammation and a knee injury.

Earlier in March, Vaughn said the team was expecting Simmons to return to the lineup at some point this season.

The former All-Star has had multiple extended absences in his first season with the Nets, missing 16 combined games. Over 42 contests, he's averaged 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.3 steals per game - all career lows.

Simmons has sustained a nerve impingement in his back before, missing eight games during the 2019-2020 season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Nets are seventh in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season. They take on the sixth-placed Miami Heat on Saturday.

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