Banged-up Nets end game with just eight players


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Ben Simmons missed his fourth consecutive game for the Nets on Saturday due to left knee soreness, while T.J. Warren also missed his fourth in a row.

Then, the Nets lost Markieff Morris to knee soreness and Seth Curry to an adductor injury during their 125-123 win over the Wizards, finishing with just eight players. But coach Jacque Vaughn professed confidence at least some will be available Monday against the visiting Clippers.

“Yeah, I hope so,” Vaughn said. “I hope [Sunday] is a day pointed towards that direction where the guys who didn’t play get on the court a little bit, and hopefully we’re ready for the next game.”

Simmons was forced out of the Jan. 26 loss to Detroit after seemingly getting hit in the face. While the Nets had expressed hope that he would be back soon, he hasn’t played since.

Seth Curry was forced to exit the Nets’ 125-123 win over the Wizards with an abductor injury.

“So he did a vitamin [individual workout], and he’ll do another one again [Saturday], so he’s on court,” Vaughn said. “Just trying to get to a level with [Warren] and [Simmons] where they’re comfortable getting back on the court and playing.”

The Nets will play back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday against the Clippers and Suns, and Simmons supposedly is edging closer to returning.

“I think we’re inching towards that way. It’s really day-to-day,” Vaughn said. “He’ll get back on the court [Sunday], and hopefully he responds to the work to get close to playing these next two games.”

An MRI exam turned up nothing new or different than the one he had back in November, which Vaughn had termed as clean. Simmons also missed time in November with a sore and swollen knee.

Simmons — who missed all of last season with mental-health issues and a herniated L-4 disk in his back that eventually required surgery — has now missed 15 of the Nets’ 52 games this season.

Cam Thomas scored 44 points in 29 minutes off the bench. He joined Stephon Marbury as the only Net to score at least 40 in under 30 minutes.

The only players in NBA history to tally 44 points in 29 or fewer minutes: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker. That’s august company.

Cam Thomas goes up for  a dunk during the Nets' win.
Cam Thomas goes up for a dunk during the Nets’ win.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

Kevin Durant has now missed 12 straight games since suffering a right MCL sprain on Jan. 8 in Miami. He is slated to be reevaluated on Monday.

Warren missed the game after initially being listed as doubtful with a left shin contusion. He did on-court work during pregame warmups, but was ruled out about an hour before tipoff.

Washington’s Bradley Beal was out with left foot soreness.

Nets fans often whine that star players come back from injury against their team. There might actually be something to it.

The Nets host Phoenix on Tuesday on the tail end of a back-to-back, and Suns star Devin Booker — who has been sidelined for more than five weeks with a left groin strain — could make his return to the court at Barclays Center.

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