The Nets, who had been hoping to keep Ben Simmons from going under the knife, announced Wednesday he will have back surgery.
The All-Star will have a microdiscectomy on Thursday. The procedure is designed to alleviate pain caused by the herniated L-4 disk in his back. Simmons is expected to be ready for training camp.
“If all goes well, he should be back in three months,” Dr. Rahul Shah, a New Jersey-based board certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon, told The Post.
The Nets had exhausted every non-surgical avenue, and after consultations with multiple specialists, it was decided surgery was the best long-term solution.
The 25-year-old — for whom the Nets essentially dealt former MVP James Harden at the Feb. 10 trade deadline — didn’t play a second all season. He first held out with the 76ers while citing mental health issues and then injured his back while ramping up to play for the Nets.
Simmons hasn’t played since June 20, 2021, when the 76ers were eliminated in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. He has now suffered at least four back injuries in a two-year span, and had an epidural cortisone shot in mid-March.
Multiple specialists told The Post that Simmons wouldn’t play at all this season. Dr. Shah said two months ago that Simmons wouldn’t suit up again until he corrected his long-standing back issues.
“Think about it this way: The longer he’s been out, the longer he’s likely to stay out. Until you fundamentally change the underlying problem,” Dr. Shah, the former team doctor for the Magic, said in mid-March. He likened Simmons’ situation to being in quicksand and predicted this outcome.
“What do I think is going to happen? Season ends, media goes quiet, he takes care of whatever he needs to. And then he’s rehabbing, and he comes back: ‘Oh yeah, he had a minor procedure done on his back.’ That’s what I think is going to happen. That might be a shot, and most likely it’ll be a procedure following the shot.”
The Nets are heavily invested in getting Simmons right, both mentally and physically.
The centerpiece of the Harden megadeal, Simmons just finished the second season of a five-year, $177 million contract.