Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons is set to return to full practice with teammates in the coming week as his rehabilitation from a back injury continues.
Simmons has reportedly been able to run and shoot without back pain and his progress will come as a boost to the Brooklyn Nets playoff aspirations.
According to ESPN, sources at the Nets say the hope is that Simmons will return to action in their opening-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
Brooklyn Nets to have Ben Simmons back soon
Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash was cagey on Simmons' progress.
When pushed for an update on Saturday, Nash said that Simmons was "still on his individual program".
The coach said that he assumes that a return to practice would be the next step for Simmons, but said he didn't have a timeline.
"I would presume," Nash said.
"That's not my job as far as the rehab and all that, but clearly to play in an NBA game you got to have some contact and play the game a little bit.
"I think clearly he's improving," Nash added.
"But I have no idea if he's getting close to playing or not."
Nets center Andre Drummond said Simmons would be a valuable addition to a group hoping to go all the way.
"Having him back obviously would be very big for our team if we're all on the same page," Drummond said.
"Ben is a very good basketball player. So if we got him back, great. If not, we still got to hold it down and play the game that we know."
In good spirits
A back injury has prevented Simmons from playing an NBA game since the Eastern Conference finals in June but he was in good spirits after a training session over the Easter weekend.
Simmons only commented "there you go" to reporters at courtside after showing them that he was able to dunk.
The Nets haven't got much use out of Simmons since their sensational deal with the Philadelphia 76ers at the February trade deadline.
ESPN's Nick Friedell says the Nets are hopeful of getting some gametime out of Simmons against the Celtics.