The latest update for Ben Simmons’ ongoing recovery doesn’t sound any more promising for the Nets.
Simmons underwent an MRI exam that revealed back inflammation, head coach Jacque Vaughn said Sunday.
The guard — who hasn’t played since the All-Star break and had his minutes dip prior to the break — remains day-to-day, but there’s no concrete timetable for his return.
“We want Ben back when he’s capable of being back for us,” Vaughn said ahead of the Nets’ 102-86 win against the Hornets on Sunday. “The day-to-day thing, that’s just for me to say some term to you guys.
“When the back gets better, and when the knee gets better, then he’ll be with us.”
While Vaughn added he wants that moment to arrive as soon as possible, he also acknowledged there’s a need to take care of the 26-year-old and ensure those two lingering injuries have healed.
Vaughn reiterated Friday that the team has no plans — and has had “zero” conversations — to shut Simmons down for the season.
Simmons’ latest rash of injuries began with his sore left knee.
A strengthening program that started following the All-Star break didn’t immediately help, and that’s also when he started appearing on the injury report for multiple reasons as back soreness began.
The most recent six-game absence, bringing his season-long total to 22, has kept Simmons from returning to the lineup and try to improve his 2022-23 numbers that have dipped to 6.9 points and 6.1 assists per game — both of which are career-lows.
“We’re kinda day by day,” Vaughn said, “but that’s what we’re managing along with trying to strengthen that knee.”
Cam Johnson briefly exited the game in the second quarter after getting knocked in the face and dealing with a bloody nose.
Trainers walked out to look at him, and he attempted both free throws — a result of the foul call being upgraded to a flagrant — before walking down the tunnel toward the Nets’ locker room.
He returned, though, and said postgame that he was fine.
“Tough,” Vaughn said. “Little blood. Get it wiped up, and get back in there. Love it. Love it.”
Charlotte’s 86 points tied for the second-fewest the Nets have allowed this season. They limited Washington to 86 on Nov. 4, and five days later, Brooklyn held the Knicks to 85.
The Nets’ five turnovers on Sunday tied for their fewest in a game this season, along with a Feb. 1 game against Boston.
Yuta Watanabe, who was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with back soreness, played six minutes.
Simmons and Edmond Sumner were the two Nets unavailable.