Brooklyn Nets swingman Ben Simmons couldn't hold back his excitement as he prepared to play in his first regular-season NBA game in almost a year and a half.

"Ready to go," Simmons said after Wednesday's shootaround, in advance of the Nets' season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans. "Very excited. I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing. We got a great group of guys here, and we're ready to roll."

Simmons last played in an NBA game in June 2021 when he was on the Philadelphia 76ers and they lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He requested a trade later that summer, citing mental health concerns, and was ultimately dealt to the Nets just before last February's trade deadline.

Simmons never made his Brooklyn debut because of lingering back issues that would later result in offseason back surgery. After so much time away from the game, Simmons appears to have a new lease on his basketball life.