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Australians in the NBA – Injury ends Simmons’ season

Ben Simmons will miss the remainder of the NBA season, the third straight year the former All-Star’s season has ended early because of back problems.

The Brooklyn Nets said Simmons will use the rest of this season to consult with specialists and seek treatment options for the pinched nerve in his lower back that has sidelined him twice this season.

The Australian has been limited to 15 games this season. He missed 38 straight at one point and has sat out the last five.

“Simmons, along with his representatives and Nets medical personnel, are currently in discussions with numerous experts to determine the course of action that will provide him with the best opportunity for long-term sustainable health,” the Nets said on Thursday.

The No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft finishes with averages of 6.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He has not finished a season since the Nets acquired him from Philadelphia at the trade deadline in 2022.

Simmons hadn’t played for Philadelphia to start that season, citing mental health concerns, and then hurt his back trying to regain his conditioning after arriving in Brooklyn. He had a microdiscectomy, a procedure to remove a small fragment of a herniated disc, after that season ended.

Simmons then played in just 42 games in 2022-23 before he was shut down in March because a nerve impingement in his lower back.

He was healthy again and reinstalled as the starting point guard to begin this season, but then was injured in early November. It was originally believed that was a left hip injury, before an MRI exam determined that the pain was caused by his lower back.

Simmons didn’t play again until January 29, when he had 10 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench in a rout of Utah. But he played in only eight more games.

Simmons has one year and about $40 million remaining on his contract.