Sources: Ben Simmons "Realistic" Return Date

NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who usually knows about these things, is reporting that a Ben Simmons return by Game 4 is a "realistic target" for the Brooklyn Nets in their series with the Boston Celtics. 

It's also based on Simmons' progress in practices this week. But Woj goes one step further, to rile up the Nets fanbase even a little more: 

He says that Game 3 "hasn't been fully ruled out yet, but that would require Simmons to clear more hurdles in a much shorter window of time". Game 2 in the series is tonight, Game 3 is on Saturday night, while Game 4 is on Monday night. 

Simmons, the All-Defensive Team stalwart, hasn't played a game since last June 20th, when his Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated in the NBA Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. He held out all season from Philly, demanding to be traded, and since arriving in Brooklyn at the trade deadline, has been out with a herniated disc in his back.  

Simmons was cleared for contact on Monday and has been getting in some 4-on-4 work with teammates this week, reports Wojnarowski

Head coach Steve Nash, who isn't a doctor and doesn't play one in the NBA, says as far as he's concerned, he's not pushing Simmons: "We can't push him places when you have been out this long. It's got to be something where he is definitely comfortable and ready to play."

Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports