Nets’ Ben Simmons, Yuta Watanabe likely to return this weekend


Injured duo Ben Simmons and Yuta Watanabe remained out for Wednesday’s 122-116 win over the Hornets. But at some point during the Nets’ back-to-back this weekend, both are expected back on the floor — and back in the rotation.

Simmons (left calf strain) missed his fourth straight, and Watanabe (right hamstring strain) was out for his eighth in a row. Neither took part in Wednesday’s pregame shootaround, but both did workout beforehand.

“They actually did a little work before that, so they came to the walk-through with a little sweat on them. So they did get some work in,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “They’re both on track to play this weekend.”

Brooklyn has essentially been playing with an eight-man rotation lately — with Seth Curry, Cam Thomas and the newly returned T.J. Warren coming off the bench. Simmons presumably will step back into the starting lineup, and Watanabe — who was leading the NBA in 3-point percentage when he went down — will also steal some minutes, possibly from Royce O’Neale or Markieff Morris.

Either way, the rotation getting lengthened is a fait accompli.

Ben Simmons
NBAE via Getty Images

“It definitely fit in that order. The fact that we’ll have more bodies to put in the game, more flexibility in what those bodies look like, small and big,” Vaughn said.

“We haven’t seen Yuta, TJ, Kevin and Nic on the floor at the same time. So what does that look like? Does that decrease some of his minutes? So the thought of more bodies back give us more opportunities to give him relief.”

Guard Edmond Sumner returned from a right glute contusion. He scored nine in 13 minutes.

“Ed is in. Went through the workout and said he is good to go so we will see him,” Vaughn said before the win.

Kessler Edwards, Day’Ron Sharpe, David Duke Jr. and Alondes Williams were all also out Wednesday on G-League assignments. … Royce O’Neale took an elbow to the face but said he was fine.

LaMelo Ball (ankle), Gordon Hayward (shoulder), Dennis Smith Jr. (ankle) and Cody Martin (knee) were all out for injury-riddled Charlotte.

The Nets and Reform Alliance co-founders Clara Wu Tsai (wife of team owner Joe Tsai) and Meek Mill hosted mothers and children impacted by the criminal justice system for a special holiday experience at Barclays Center before Wednesday’s game. The group toured the arena, went on a shopping spree at Brooklyn Fanatics and watched the game from VIP suites.

Credit: Source link