Simmons has nerve issue in back, return in doubt

6:48 PM ET

Tim BontempsESPN

The Brooklyn Nets announced Friday evening that Ben Simmons has been diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back, putting the former All-Star forward’s potential return to the court this season in doubt.

Simmons, who hasn’t played since Brooklyn’s final game before the All-Star Break last month with a combination of left knee and back soreness, was diagnosed with the nerve issue in his back after a re-evaluation Friday, the team said, which comes after he’s missed 15 consecutive games.

Before the Nets faced the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last week, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn insisted there had been “zero” discussions about shutting Simmons down for the season at that point.

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“Definitely operating under that belief,” Vaughn said, when asked directly if he’s expecting Simmons to play again this season. “There’s zero discussions about him not playing. We expect him to be back, waiting for