Nets' Simmons late scratch because of sore back

by Gordon Dixon - The Nets' Ben Simmons was a late scratch Sunday against the Thunder because of back soreness.

Nets' Ben Simmons late scratch because of back soreness 5:52 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 for its launch in April 2009. NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets ' Ben Simmons was a late scratch for Sunday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of back soreness. Simmons, who has now missed 11 games this season because of various injuries, had back surgery over the summer and has struggled to find a consistent rhythm during the season. He had 13 points and nine rebounds in Friday's 109-98 loss to the Boston Celtics but did not register a point and went 0-for-3 from the field. Editor's Picks 1 Related Simmons said after the game that he knows he must be more aggressive offensively, especially as the Nets play without Kevin Durant over the next month as he continues to recover from a right MCL injury. "Being assertive, being aggressive and knowing that my team needs that," a reflective Simmons said after Friday's game. "I think I'm giving the ball up way too many times when I know who I am, I know I need to get to the rim, get buckets. And that's also going to help my teammates get them going." Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said after Saturday's practice that all players besides Durant came through the practice in good shape, but Simmons' late scratch is a reminder of how tricky his back situation continues to be for a team that needs him to produce on the floor now more than ever.