Getty Images

Ben Simmons is back on the injury report, this time on a day-to-day basis for the same nerve impingement in his back that kept him out for more than 10 weeks earlier this season. The Nets guard has played in six games to start the season, then returned in late January and managed to play nine games before going out again. He has played in just 57 of a possible 178 games since being traded to Brooklyn in 2022. 

Putting Simmons' mental struggles aside, he has simply been unable to stay physically healthy for any real length of time over the last two-plus seasons. His holdout with the 76ers, plus his back issues kept him out for the entire 2021-22 season. Last season, it was the back and knee that limited him to 42 games. 

This season, Simmons has played in 15 games while making $38 million. He's set to make over $40M next year, which will put an end to the five-year, $170M extension he signed in 2019 that has one of the worst ROIs of any contract this side of Chandler Parsons. 

Now Simmons' agent, Bernie Lee, is taking the blame for his client's inability to get past these back injuries that continue to plague him, which they have tried to fix, obviously to no avail, without surgery. 

From SNY's Ian Begley:

"It is a continuation of the same injury that he has dealt with all year," Lee told SNY. "….We are trying to get clearer answers as to how to get him out of the reactive cycle he's in.

"...We continue to try and find non-surgical options to allow Ben to move forward on a permanent basis and that is where this is my responsibility and I am [the] one to blame. 

"When I began working with Ben I made a commitment to him that I would do everything I could to find the right answers and specialists for him to work with [in order] to move forward from the issues he has been having. Clearly it hasn't happened and that's my responsibility. 

"In the year I have worked with Ben he has taken less than seven days off. In my almost 20 years doing this, [it] isn't something I've seen. So the thought that he is doing everything asked of him but not getting the results is something that in no way shape or form sits right with me and I am committed to finding him the right people and the right answers and we will."

"Come the offseason, we're going to implement some processes and outside input that'll allow him to finally move forward from this on-going issue and resume his career at the levels he's established prior to being injured," Lee said.

Nets interim coach Kevin Ollie confirmed that Simmons is considered day-to-day, saying "hopefully we can get him back soon," but if you read between the lines of Lee's comments, it's at least worth questioning if another extended absence is on the horizon. After all, he's already talking about what they're going to do about getting Simmons right in the offseason. That doesn't sound too good for the rest of this season. 

Lee knows the flak Simmons has caught, fairly or not, for his long and well-paid absences, and if another one is coming, it would be understandable that he try to absorb the heat so as to protect whatever is left of his client's reputation -- a client that will be in need of a new contract two summers from now. 

Or perhaps that's me reading too much into this. We'll see. Either way, Simmons is hurt again, and it's the same issue that has been the problem for most of the last two seasons.