Report: Nets Are "Optimistic" Ben Simmons Could Debut In First Round

Ben Simmons continues to progress in his recovery from his back injury, and the Brooklyn Nets are actually "optimistic" he could play in the playoffs—if they make it past the Play-In tournament.

Simmons actually participated in pregame warmups for the first time, before Sunday's regular-season finale against the Indiana Pacers. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nets and Simmons are "on the same page", and "should he continue clearing ramp-up hurdles", and "the progression continues in his legs and back" without any setback, he could play as early as the first round. 

Nets beat reporter Kristian Winfield says this is the best Simmons has looked since he came over to Brooklyn at the trade deadline.

The Nets will have two chances to get to the first round of the playoffs. The winner of the first Play-In game, Nets vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers is in as the 7th seed. The loser gets a second chance, playing the winner of the Charlotte Hornets/Atlanta Hawks Play-In for the 8th seed. 

Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports