The Brooklyn Nets issued an update to James Harden‘s ongoing medical situation as he works to return from a hamstring injury. Unfortunately, he hit a setback in his progression and will miss more time than expected.
Per the Nets:
Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden experienced a setback while conducting an on-court rehab session on Monday. Following an evaluation today which included an MRI, Harden will remain out indefinitely. Updates regarding his status will be provided as appropriate.
It’s a major blow to a team with lofty championship aspirations. Obviously, the hope is that he will return before the playoffs and have time to work his way back into game condition before the rubber really meets the road for the Nets, but that may be a far-off dream.
The Nets have battled injuries and absences for much of the season. Kevin Durant has missed more than half of their games, and Harden has been out of the lineup for the last six games and eight of their last nine.
This makes for a disappointing end to Harden’s regular season after working his way into MVP conversations. Thanks to a fantastic run without Durant in the lineup, Harden’s stock was skyrocketing.
Now, they will be without Durant for at least Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans and he should probably be considered day-to-day at best.
The Nets sit second in the Eastern Conference, 1.0 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers, and 3.0 games ahead of the on-again, off-again Milwaukee Bucks. Losing that lead and slipping to third could be disastrous for a team that will need time to get all of their major pieces on the same page when Durant and Harden both return.
A drop to third likely means the Nets would have to face the Bucks in the second round of the playoffs, and that’s a tough challenge even for a team that has had everything in top gear for some time.
For now, we’ll wait and see what Durant’s prognosis is over the coming days, and hopefully, Harden will get back on the floor sooner than later.