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Nets Chronicles: Ben Simmons Takes a Seat Against Celtics for Maintenance Day; Nic Claxton Grapples with 'High Ankle Sprain'

Nets Chronicles: Ben Simmons Takes a Seat Against Celtics for Maintenance Day; Nic Claxton Grapples with 'High Ankle Sprain'

"Nets’ Roster Challenges: Ben Simmons Takes a Rest Day, Nic Claxton Grapples with High Ankle Sprain

In the face of the surging Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets found themselves shorthanded on Saturday as Ben Simmons opted for a maintenance day, and Nic Claxton battled the aftermath of a high ankle sprain. Coach Jacque Vaughn assured that Simmons, despite not experiencing pain in his surgically-repaired back, was strategically resting as part of ongoing conversations about managing his workload.

Vaughn explained, 'I think overall Ben, I and [the Nets] performance [team] had this game kind of circled as far as early in the season, the back-to-back that presented itself. So this one was, I guess, acknowledged at this point in time [as] needed to be done, but no concern about that, what it looks like going forward.'

Simmons, who underwent back surgery in May 2022, has been on a cautious return, and his absence from certain back-to-back games is part of a strategic approach. Despite starting the first five games and contributing significantly in Friday night’s win in Chicago, his participation in every second game of a back-to-back is not set in stone.

On the other end, Nic Claxton continued to miss games due to a left ankle injury sustained in the season opener against Cleveland on October 25. The shot-blocking center disclosed that he is contending with a high ankle sprain, a more challenging injury with a potentially longer recovery period. Claxton shared his experience, stating, 'I don’t know if anybody, if any of y’all, have ever dealt with a high ankle sprain. It’s my first time. It’s not fun. It’s pain-tolerance. It’s [about] being good, just mentally.'

Despite the discomfort, Claxton is adopting a cautious approach, prioritizing his well-being early in the season. The 24-year-old center, who traveled with the team on a recent road trip but missed every game, remains optimistic about his recovery, having recently shed a walking boot and resumed workouts. As the Nets navigate these roster challenges, the resilience of the team and the players' commitment to recovery remain crucial elements in their ongoing season journey."

"In the relentless pursuit of recovery, Nic Claxton shared insights into his rehabilitation process, emphasizing a meticulous routine of ice and physical therapy to alleviate the strain on his high ankle sprain. Claxton's commitment to the day-by-day grind involves gradually increasing court activities while prioritizing the preservation of muscle flexibility. Coach Jacque Vaughn assured that, as of Saturday, Claxton has not encountered setbacks and continues to be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

Addressing the evolving timeline of his recovery, Claxton acknowledged the unexpected duration, stating, 'It’s just the process, the day-by-day, just not rushing it and while also pushing it, getting out there on the court, doing a little bit more every day, feeling more comfortable.' Despite the frustration stemming from the injury's prolonged impact, Claxton remains focused on the bigger picture of the 82-game season, expressing a cautious approach to avoid jeopardizing his long-term well-being: 'It’s frustrating, but it’s an 82-game season, so what can you do? I’m not going to put myself in harm’s way. I’m just taking it day-by-day.'

Meanwhile, the Nets continue to grapple with the absence of sharpshooting forward Cam Johnson, who has been sidelined since the season opener due to a left calf strain. The team announced on Monday that Johnson would undergo a re-evaluation after 10 days. In the absence of key players, the likes of Cam Thomas, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Royce O’Neale stepped up to fill the void during Saturday's game, showcasing the team's adaptability amidst the ongoing challenges."

"As the Brooklyn Nets navigate the hurdles of injuries and strategic player management, the rehabilitation journey of Nic Claxton stands as a testament to patience and persistence. Claxton's daily regimen of ice and physical therapy, coupled with a cautious yet progressive return to on-court activities, underscores his commitment to long-term recovery. Coach Jacque Vaughn's assurance of Claxton's absence being devoid of setbacks provides a glimmer of optimism amidst the challenges.

Claxton, acknowledging the unexpected timeline, embraces the reality of the grueling 82-game season, emphasizing the importance of not rushing the healing process. The Nets' roster, already coping with the absence of Cam Johnson due to a left calf strain, showcases resilience as other players like Cam Thomas, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Royce O’Neale step into pivotal roles.

As the team adapts to the evolving lineup, the Nets remain steadfast in their commitment to player well-being, strategic recovery, and a collective approach to overcoming the trials of the NBA season. The ongoing narrative of rehabilitation and resilience adds a compelling layer to the team's journey, leaving fans and analysts alike intrigued by the unfolding chapters of the Brooklyn Nets' season."