Ben Simmons out against the Knicks with sore left knee

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn used a baseball reference to describe the direction he wants embattled forward Ben Simmons to go this season.

Simmons, who left Thursday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons after taking a blow to the face and did not return because of sore left knee, missed Sunday’s crossover matchup against the Knicks with soreness in his left knee. knee.

Vaughn declined to specifically address Simmons’ absence, but used a general analogy to make his point.

“As a [baseball] manager, i [would] I want to be able to write Cal Ripkin at third base or shortstop. Yeah. That’s how I look at it,” he said before the game against the Knicks on Saturday. “So I think everyone’s focus should be based on that, where you want to be locked up every night.”

Sunday marked the 11th game Simmons has missed with the Nets this season. It’s the second time pain in his left knee has kept him off the court, and the second time Simmons, who underwent a microdiscectomy procedure last summer, has withdrawn with a left knee injury or issue at the second game of a consecutive match. back.

Vaughn also declined to address Simmons’ mindset specifically when it comes to being available for as many games as possible.

“There are 17 guys on a team, and pointing to one guy, I don’t think it’s fair,” he said. “What I do is address the team and ask them to take advantage of today, take advantage of your recovery day, as I told you.

“Nothing has changed in my message, nothing has changed in my communication with this team. From one to 17, either watching a movie with the 13th guy the other day, or watching a movie with the 9th guy this afternoon. It hasn’t changed, so I don’t want this focus to change from 1 to 17. Prepare for it to depend on you every night and be part of the lineup.”

Vaughn said Simmons’ absence against the Knicks on Sunday had nothing to do with being punched in the face. Simmons left Detroit’s game after rookie Jaden Ivey got close to his eye on a drive to the rim.

“Purely the knee [keeping him out]Vaughn said. “I think that was the momentum with which he got hit in the face, but it’s purely the knee.”

After missing the entire 2021-22 NBA season due to a combination of mental health issues and a herniated disc in his lower back, Simmons has struggled to find his footing. He went scoreless with seven assists in 20 minutes before withdrawing from the Detroit game.

It marked his second scoreless game in the month of January and it came a game after he went scoreless in the first half of the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons is averaging 5.7 points, 7.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game on New Years. He has taken more than seven shots in a game just once this month and just seven times this season.

“You become what you think about,” Vaughn said after the loss to the Sixers. “So if you’re thinking about being aggressive, you’re going to be aggressive. And if you think about being a good partner, you will be a good partner. If you think about competing and playing hard, you do those things. You become what you think.”

The Nets are also without reserve end TJ Warren, who suffered a bruised left shin against the Pistons.

“Good thing I’m not a doctor,” Vaughn said. “We thought it was the knee. It was a little below the knee: it was the shin. It’s also from day to day.”


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