6:45pm: Harden will play in Game 5, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
Nets head coach Steve Nash, when asked about Harden’s condition, had previously said that the decision would come down to Harden himself, tweeted Adam Zagoria of The New York Times.
“I think it is James’ decision,” Nash said. “He’s been pushing, he wants to play but he’s got to go through his pre-game routine and see if he’s able.
12:21pm: Less than 24 hours after being ruled out for Game 5 of the Nets‘ series with the Bucks, star guard James Harden has had his status upgraded again. Having originally been upgraded to “doubtful” earlier today, Harden is now being listed as questionable, the team announced.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Harden, who has been sidelined since Game 1 of the series due to a right hamstring strain, intends to play on Tuesday night, barring a pregame setback. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reported hours ago that the 31-year-old planned to go through today’s shootaround in the hopes of being cleared, says there were no issues during that session (Twitter link).
If Harden is indeed able to play, it will be a major boost to a Nets team that has lost two consecutive games and will be missing Kyrie Irving on Tuesday due to an ankle sprain.
Brooklyn has struggled to get its offense going in its last two games. The team scored just 83 points in a Game 3 loss. In Game 4, no one besides Durant and Irving (who played just 17 minutes) scored double-digit points. The series is now tied at two games apiece.
Harden missed over a month of action during the regular season due to an injury to the same hamstring before aggravating the issue during the first quarter of Brooklyn’s second-round series. The fact that he has now been upgraded from out to questionable for Tuesday’s game feels like a sign of the Nets’ desperation. Hopefully, if he does return tonight, Harden won’t tweak that hamstring again, potentially subjecting himself to an even longer absence.