Inside Ben Simmons’ hard, snowy road to Nets

Nets fans have been waiting a while to finally see Ben Simmons in good health, both mentally and physically. And while they haven’t seen all the work he’s done to get healthy—and will have to keep doing to stay that way—it’s been a long way to go.

“I put myself in my position. I’ve been working on myself for the past year To get back down to earth and play at a high levelSimmons said this week. “I deserve to take this opportunity to get back on the field, so I’m excited to work as a team with these guys, these coaches.”

Simmons – acquired on the February trading deadline for former MVP James Harden – missed the entirety of last season due to mental health issues and a herniated disc. He worked with a therapist on his mental health, and eventually a back injury required microscopic discectomy surgery in May.

Now that he’s finally allowed to work, Simmons has been playing pick-up at the Nets’ HSS training center for weeks, and with training camp starting Tuesday, he’s up and running. To build cohesion with teammatesincluding Kevin Durant and Keri Irving.

“It’s good to see him regress after a stressful year for him both physically and mentally,” Durant said. “So seeing him have such a good time on the floor is amazing.”

Ben Simmons #10 of the Brooklyn Nets speaks on the podium during a press conference on Brooklyn Nets Media Day at the HSS Training Center on September 26, 2022.
Ben Simmons is preparing to play for the Nets this season after missing the entirety of last season due to physical and mental health issues.
Getty Images

Irving added, “With this level of talent and intelligence Driven and drive, anything is possible. [Simmons] He has that inside of him so now we just have to develop it where he knows he can just get out there and be himself. We want him to be his highest potential… to be able to get things done on the ground that he hasn’t been able to do in the last few years and to have some peace of mind.

“Obviously it will take time in terms of health, but we are patient. Just wait for him to look like he is in star condition again, and I know it will happen soon.”

Take cryotherapy 🧊

Simmons has experimented with a range of treatments and therapies to restore better physical and emotional health. He has spoken candidly last season about having had “dark days”, and knows maintaining his mental health is an ongoing process.

“I feel like everyone has dark days, but we’re able to tackle them and work to get them where we want to be,” Simmons said. “This is where I am. For me, I work on myself every day.”

This doctrine applies to physical maintenance as well.

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons trains before the NBA game against the Indiana Pacers on April 10, 2022.
Simmons underwent back surgery in May, and said he’s developed more careful routines to take care of his body.
Corey Sibkin

“I think the older I get, the more I know I need to take care of my body,” he said. “So in terms of food and nutrition, then massage therapy every day, Pilates. I’m going to stay on top of my body this year. So there’s a lot, but you know it’s a must.”

Additionally, The Post has learned that Simmons underwent repeated cryotherapy treatments last season in California.

He frequented the Muscle Lab in Pasadena for stretching and cryotherapy sessions. Heat guard Tyler Herro is another NBA client.

Cryotherapy is used to help reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms. The body is exposed to very cold temperatures for a short period, often three minutes. Muscle Lab’s nitrogen-based cryotherapy machines reach negative 220 degrees (like a bad day in New York, Muscle Lab founder Andy Tries joked). Treatments are generally administered two or three times per week.

“Cryotherapy helps your body reduce inflammation — and that’s one of the main points people use — and helps you recover faster and helps you manage any pain you have,” Treys told Sports+.

“It’s basically a room. … There is a window, so if you need some air [or] It’s so cold, you knock and we lower the window. Your entire body – even your head and face – is all inside this humanoid freezer for three minutes. You choose any song you want, and then it works.”

A view of the cryotherapy room at the Muscle Lab in Pasadena, California.
Simmons performed cryotherapy in a room like this one, exposing his body to frigid temperatures for a few minutes at a time.
Via Facebook / Muscle Lab

Cryotherapy has become increasingly popular among NBA players over the past decade or so. He was among the first in the league to benefit from late Lakers icon Kobe Bryant. A popular competitor, Bryant wouldn’t tell the other players about him to try to keep every advantage to himself.

Tries said cryotherapy can also be beneficial for an individual’s mental health.

“Well, I know Ben has had some mental health issues — it helps with that too,” Tries said. “It’s releasing endorphins into your body. It’s like your body thinks it’s dying, and it starts fighting. So there’s a lot of fun stuff going on during the session….You’re much more refreshed after a shower, almost like a really cold shower.”

(in Article published by HuffPostDr. Michael Gleiber writes, “Cryotherapy can boost endorphins and adrenaline, and get the blood flowing. These things may lead to a temporary increase in mood, which may theoretically be beneficial for people suffering from anxiety and depression. However, it would be an exaggeration to say that Cryotherapy is actually a viable treatment for anxiety and depression. Although it may be a good supplement to treatment, these conditions are best managed by a mental health professional.”)

“I put a lot of time and effort into myself.”

For Simmons, who missed the whole last season in part due to mental health issues, it’s essential to do everything in his power to reach – and stay – in the right headspace. Irving, from Taking personal leave from nets In the midst of the 2020-21 season, he spoke about the importance of that process to any player and especially to Simmons.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving reacts during Game Three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics on April 23, 2022.
Kyrie Irving has spoken of the Nets being “supportive” of Simmons as he tries to find peace and joy in playing basketball.
Corey Sibkin

“It means they come with peace of mind and are enjoying the game of basketball,” Irving said. “It’s a profession, sure, I don’t want to bring up – [there’s] serious about it. But building camaraderie with the team takes that ability to go through some uncomfortable moments, and you have to be mentally, spiritually, and emotionally balanced, to be able to handle things like that.

“I definitely have first-hand experience. I don’t want to make mental health a trend, but it’s actually one of the most important things you need here to be great at whatever you do. We’re all supportive. We all go through things of our own, but we can understand it and meet it in place, And we make him enjoy the game instead of making him feel like it’s something he’s forced to do.”

So why is Simmons so confident he can survive in a good vacuum? All the work it takes to get where it is now.

The young All-Star star has heard all the trolling and mockery of his lost season and the reasons for it. Simmons chose only to tune them in in favor of keeping his eyes on the big prizes: his mental health and title quest.

Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets attends a game between the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers during the 2022 NBA Summer League.
Simmons said that in his ongoing work on his mental health, he alerted the critics and focused on winning the NBA title with the Nets.
Getty Images

“I put a lot of time and effort into myself,” Simmons said. We could be here all day talking about it [the details]. A lot of time and energy was spent getting to where I wanted to play.

“I don’t care about the narration. People say certain things. I can’t control that. All I can do is focus on what I can do on the field: win matches and help this team win the championship. That’s clearly the ultimate goal of the net. We are here for a reason.” One “.

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