Nets reportedly ‘targeting’ Ben Simmons debut in series vs. Celtics

"They are expecting that Ben Simmons will be available at some point in this series."

Ben Simmons Nets Celtics
Ben Simmons in March, 2022. AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Red Sox defeated the Tigers on Wednesday 9-7 with Jackie Bradley, Kiké Hernández, and Rafael Devers hitting back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles against former Boston pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Bruins host the Senators at TD Garden.

And in other local sports news, longtime Boston College men’s hockey coach Jerry York, the winningest coach in NCAA hockey history, announced his retirement after 28 seasons — and four National Championships — with the program.

The latest on Ben Simmons: The Celtics and Nets are set to begin their Eastern Conference first round NBA playoff series on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.


While there’s already plenty of interesting subplots to keep track of, another detail to keep an eye on as the series progresses is the potential availability of Nets point guard Ben Simmons.

Simmons, 25, hasn’t played an NBA game since the playoffs a year ago, when he was a member of the 76ers. Since then, he’s gone through an extended holdout in Philadelphia before eventually being traded to Brooklyn in February. Simmons has also dealt with a herniated disk in his back that has continued to keep him from making his Nets debut.

But on Thursday morning, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst said in a segment on “Get Up!” that Simmons could be available for the series against Boston.

“I can’t even believe it to be honest with you, but I am told that they are targeting Games 4, 5, or 6 of this upcoming series against the Celtics for a Ben Simmons debut for the Brooklyn Nets,” Windhorst explained.

“Now, as soon as I heard that, I said, ‘Is he even playing 5-on-5 yet?’ The answer is no,” Windhorst added, “but they’re hoping to ramp him up over the next few days, and if there are no setbacks, they are expecting that Ben Simmons will be available at some point in this series.”


Though there’s still a level of uncertainty, Windhorst said that it’s the most optimistic the Nets have sounded about Simmons since the February trade.

“I have been hearing nothing but pessimism about Ben Simmons’ availability now for two months, ever since shortly after the trade,” said Windhorst. “This is the first time I’m hearing optimism, and I think that’s notable.”

Game 4 of the series isn’t set get underway until April 25 in Brooklyn.

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Jayson Tatum’s thoughts on facing the Nets:

On this day: In 1967, Red Sox rookie Billy Rohr was making his first career MLB start. It just happened to be taking place at Yankee Stadium against Boston’s longstanding rival.

Somehow, Rohr took a no-hitter into the 9th inning. Leading off the inning, New York left fielder Tom Tresh hit a fly ball towards Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski.

In one of the greatest plays of his Hall of Fame career, Yastrzemski made a leaping catch to preserve Rohr’s bid. But with two outs and two strikes, New York’s Elston Howard had other ideas. Following a protracted at-bat, Howard sliced a base hit to break up the no-hit bid. After all that, even Yankee fans weren’t happy to see the rookie’s chance at a magical accomplishment dashed at the last possible hurdle.

“That’s the first time in my life I ever made a base hit and was booed,” Howard said afterward.

Daily highlight: UMass outfielder Michael Rounds made a tremendous catch during the team’s 7-3 win on Wednesday.


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