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Although there were intriguing rumors that Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons would eye a mid-series debut against the Boston Celtics, Kevin Durant remains unconvinced that his teammate can suit up a basketball uniform as quickly as that. 

Speaking in an interview with Zach Braziller of the New York Post, Durant claimed that he doesn’t expect Simmons to enforce them in their first-round war against the Cs. The future Hall of Famer even added that he’s not adding any pressure on the Australian swingman’s recovery and possible comeback this season. 

“No, I’m not expecting him to play. That’s easier for me. I’m not putting any pressure on Ben to come out and hoop. I’m not expecting him to do anything except get his body right and get healthy as fast as he can. I’m preparing as if we’re playing with the team we have.”

Recently, Simmons posted an enticing Instagram story that sparked optimism amongst the Nets fans about his progress and status. Yet, only time can tell if these speculations are bound to the much-awaited reality of a return to the hardwood. 

Facing a defensive behemoth in the Boston Celtics that is being headlined by battle-tested offensive machines of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Simmons’ defensive versatility and playmaking could have been a major help on the side of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Nets. Despite that notorious image that he currently holds upon his bitter exit from the Philadelphia 76ers, no one can still reject the fact that he’ll further transform Brooklyn into a title contender once healthy and available. 

The Simmons-less Nets and the Celtics, who are also undermanned due to Rob Williams’ absence, are now gearing for the start of their all-out war this Sunday inside the TD Garden.