APRIL 7: Durant will be available to play on Wednesday night, the Nets have confirmed (Twitter link).
APRIL 6: After nagging hamstring discomfort limited James Harden to just four minutes of action in yesterday’s defeat of the Knicks, a subsequent MRI has indicated that the All-Star Nets guard has a strained right hamstring, the team tweets. The club will reassess the injury in 10 days.
Before his attempted return to the floor Monday, Harden previously missed two games with what was initially diagnosed as hamstring tightness. Harden had edged his way into the league MVP conversation with his stellar play of late, but any extended absence could derail his chances. With Brooklyn, Harden is averaging a sparkling 25.4 PPG, 11.0 APG, 8.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.7 BPG, with a solid shooting line of .467/.361/.867 on high volume.
Harden’s comportment in forcing his way off the Rockets likely poisoned the well somewhat among the league journalists who vote for year-end award honors, so earning a second such career honor this season would’ve been an uphill battle even before the injury. Harden’s subsequent play for his new team, however, had made him somewhat undeniable as one of the league’s best players.
Meanwhile, Harden’s fellow Nets All-Star Kevin Durant could rejoin the club from his own strained left hamstring injury as soon as Wednesday against the Pelicans, per Malika Andrews of ESPN. The team officially lists him as probable (via Twitter), but Andrews notes that internally the team anticipates that the forward will play. Durant has been inactive for Brooklyn since February 13.
Since the Nets traded for Harden in mid-January, the team’s three All-Stars (Harden, Durant and Kyrie Irving) have only played together in seven games. Despite this, the club has an Eastern Conference-best 35-16 record.
Harden joins a crowded backcourt injury tally. Head coach Steve Nash suggested on Monday that reserve guard Tyler Johnson could miss two-to-three weeks as he recovers from right knee soreness. Backup guard Landry Shamet has been unavailable since last week with a right ankle sprain. Spencer Dinwiddie continues to rehabilitate from a partially torn ACL and the team expects him to miss the rest of the 2020/21 season.