Nets' Ben Simmons (calf strain) out at least 3 more games

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets swingman Ben Simmons will miss at least the next three games after being diagnosed with a left lateral upper calf strain, the team announced before Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said that an MRI revealed that Simmons, who has already missed six games this year because of left knee soreness, is dealing with a new issue near the knee.

"It's the knee, but the back of the knee," Vaughn said before Wednesday's game. "He was grabbing his knee during the game and said he needed to come out. It ended up being the back of the knee, so it's the upper part of the calf."

Simmons exited Monday's game against the Orlando Magic with, what the team said at the time, was the same knee issue. He finally seemed to find some consistency in his game over the past two weeks after struggling to find any rhythm over the first month of the season following offseason back surgery.

Vaughn said he spoke to Simmons prior to Wednesday's game and it remains unclear what his minutes plan will be whenever he does return to the lineup.

"I don't know if we can pinpoint and say it was one thing or another," Vaughn said of Simmons' latest setback. "Acute injury, could it have been an accumulation of games? We had five [games] in seven [nights]. That could have definitely contributed to it. He doesn't remember a specific event that happened in the game, so I think it's on us to be smart when he does come back.

"Does that mean minute restriction? Maybe so. Does that mean not playing back to backs? Maybe so. Nothing's out of the realm of considering what's best for the team, which we'll always consider. But we want each individual to be able to play every single game. That's the goal."

The Nets also announced that big man Yuta Watanabe will miss at least another week because of ongoing issues with a right hamstring strain. Watanabe, who hasn't played since Nov. 20, initially thought the injury wasn't serious, but a follow up MRI on Monday revealed results "consistent" with the first test.

Both Simmons and Watanabe are scheduled to be reassessed again next week.