A back injury flaring up kept Nets star Ben Simmons out of Game 4 but it is actually a “mental block” at the root of the problem.
The Ben Simmons saga with the Nets hit a low point this week as Brooklyn faced elimination in Game 4 against the Celtics while the star guard apparently ruled himself out of action.
An unlikely victory to stave off a sweep was Simmons’ only chance of getting another chance to play for his new team this season and that didn’t happen on Monday night. Boston took out Brooklyn, 116-112.
Now, reporting from Shams Charania for The Athletic is shedding light on more of the details around Simmons’ absence.
In short, it’s a mental problem.
Ben Simmons is struggling with a “mental block” around playing for the Nets
According to Charania’s sources, Simmons told Nets officials in a recent meeting that “a mental block exists for him, dating in part to last summer’s postseason, which is creating stress that could serve as a trigger point for his back issues.”
Those who suffer from severe anxiety may be familiar with the idea of stress causing back pain. If you’re lucky enough not to have experienced that phenomenon, it might be hard to understand the link between the mental and physical ailment. It does exist and it can be difficult to articulate and work through.
Clearly, he has issues with the playoffs considering his famous gaff with the 76ers, passing up a wide-open dunk in a critical moment. His offseason strife with Philadelphia, injury and trade to Brooklyn created even more mental disruption.
For that reason, Simmons is due some understanding here. At the same time, the Nets’ frustration is also justified. The question only the player can answer is if he’s doing everything he can to overcome that block.
He has an offseason to figure out how to make a breakthrough.