Ben Simmons was not listed on the Nets’ injury report Thursday, indicating he will return after missing four games with a calf strain.
The Nets are becoming whole in a league that is splintered.
On Friday, the Nets will host a Hawks team that is without All-Star guard Dejounte Murray and big man John Collins (both with ankle sprains). Forward De’Andre Hunter (hip) and guard Trent Forrest (concussion protocol) are questionable. Star Trae Young was not listed on the injury report, though he did not practice Thursday because of a reported illness.
The Nets have been the beneficiaries of several matchups in which opponents were missing key pieces. On Tuesday, the Nets beat a depleted Hornets squad that was without LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward. The Celtics beat the Nets on Sunday without Marcus Smart. In the past few weeks, the Nets have beaten a Grizzlies squad that was without Ja Morant and Desmond Bane and the Damian Lillard-less Trail Blazers.
The Nets, who will welcome back Simmons and played without Kyrie Irving for eight games during his suspension, will not apologize.
The only player remaining on the Nets’ injury report is forward Yuta Watanabe, who will miss his 10th straight game with a right hamstring strain. Watanabe is expecting to return Saturday, when the Nets play the tail end of a back-to-back in Indiana.
The Nets likely will not play T.J. Warren in both games as the forward builds himself up after missing nearly two years following foot surgery.
Simmons also could sit Saturday as the Nets monitor his workload, which they believe contributed to his calf injury. Simmons has indicated he and the team will discuss his availability on back-to-backs.
After not practicing Thursday, the Nets will not hold morning shootaround again Friday. They have been trying to save the legs of their stars, with Kevin Durant leading the league in minutes played.
The Nets recalled Day’Ron Sharpe and Kessler Edwards from the Long Island Nets.
In two G-League games, Sharpe averaged 24 points and 15.5 rebounds, while Edwards averaged 15.5 points, seven rebounds and 2.5 assists.