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Ben Simmons earns respect playing sick vs Hornets – Boston Herald


Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said Ben Simmons playing despite recovering from a recent illness is a sign of him being accountable to his teammates.

Simmons was clearly playing at a deficit in Saturday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets — Brooklyn’s 11th in a row. The team listed him as questionable with a non-COVID related illness before playing in only 19 minutes and mustered just two points, three rebounds and two assists, sitting the entire fourth quarter.

But the fact he showed up and gave it a go — on New Year’s Eve nonetheless, caught the eyes of his teammates.

”I think it’s a huge sign for your teammates — of showing up for your teammates, being ready to rumble,” Vaughn said after the game. “You’re not gonna be 100 percent all the time.”

Nets star Kevin Durant said Simmons gutting out the minutes for the team “says a lot.”

“Somebody who wanted to finish the year out with us. As someone who was a little banged up and a little sick, to be able to come out there and give us some solid minutes, we really appreciate that as his teammates. We know you’re under the weather but you still wanna give it a push to go play that says a lot.

“Regardless of how many minutes he played or his stats he still came out there and played hard for us so we respect that and we appreciate him coming out and playing hard under the weather.”

Kyrie Irving agreed with Durant’s sentiment. Simmons has also been dealing with the ramifications of offseason back surgery. Most recently, he has missed time with a calf strain.

“It’s very encouraging. Any time one of your teammates is selfless enough to put their body on the line for you, you don’t take that moment for granted because obviously he’s putting himself at risk, and we know that,” Irving said of Simmons. “He’s sick, he’s not feeling well, but he felt called to play, and you’ve gotta honor that. He gave us everything he had and we came out with a win, so we clearly achieved our mission for today, and that’s just to win the ball game, get out of here and go celebrate with our families.”

Vaughn said reserve guard Edmond Sumner also played under the weather after skipping the final leg of Friday’s shootaround because he “just wasn’t feeling like himself.”

“And for him to go through treatment, for Ben to go through treatment and work their way to trying to play today means a lot to the group,” Vaughn continued. “I think it goes a long way as far as accountability to your teammates, so definitely means something for sure.”



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