Nets' Simmons 'great,' says he'll play vs. Mavs

by Gordon Dixon - Nets swingman Ben Simmons says his left knee feels "great" and that he'll return from a four-game absence to play against the Mavs on Monday night.

Nets' Ben Simmons says he's returning after 4-game absence play Durant: Nets finding escape on court after chaotic week (1:24) Kevin Durant reflects on a tumultuous week for the Nets off the court, and says the players are finding solace by playing basketball. (1:24) 12:30 PM ET Nick FriedellESPN Staff Writer Close Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009. DALLAS -- Brooklyn Nets swingman Ben Simmons says he will play Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks after missing the last four games because of left knee soreness. "I feel great," Simmons said after Monday's shootaround. "It took a few days to get some rehab in, get it right. So I'm feeling great. ... I'll be in tonight. I think I've got like 20 minutes." Simmons had an MRI on the knee last week that came back clean, but he had to get the knee drained and did not accompany the Nets on the first two games of this road trip -- wins over the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets . Editor's Picks Simmons says he believes that the knee issue, combined with rehabbing from offseason back surgery, has impacted his play early in the season. Simmons enters Monday's game averaging 6.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in six games this season. "I don't want to make that an excuse, but I had a swollen knee," Simmons said. "It is what it is, but it's taken care of now, so I'm glad I'm moving." Simmons acknowledged that he believes the knee issue is likely related to the back surgery. "I think overall, if you have something you're doing on your left side, it typically affects your right side," Simmons said. "I had a lower right back injury, so it's probably a part to it. But as time goes on, I need to stay on my strength in terms of left and right knee. And then obviously continue to do the work I've been doing on my back."