The severity of the hamstring injury James Harden suffered Saturday remains unclear but, at this point, it’s not looking good for the Nets guard.
Harden lasted just 43 seconds into Brooklyn’s eventual Game 1 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, limping to the locker room with an injury to the same hamstring that forced him to miss over a month during the regular season. After the game, the Nets told reporters that Harden underwent an MRI, the results of which had not been revealed as of Sunday morning.
Obviously, there’s a chance that Harden’s injury is minor and that he won’t miss extended time. Nets head coach Steve Nash did not immediately rule the superstar out for Monday’s Game 2.
But neither Nash nor his players sound particularly confident about Harden’s injury.
“You know we got a lot thrown at us this year, so we were, in a sense, well trained for this event,” Nash said after the game, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “But you never want to see that for someone like James, who is such an important player and such an incredible player and cares so much.
“I’m heartbroken for him. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if he’s playing the next game, if he’s out. I have no idea. But I’m heartbroken for him that he had to miss tonight.”
From Kevin Durant: “It just sucks. It sucks. It sucks because I want him to be out there. I know how much he cares. I know how much he wants to be in this moment. It sucks. Wishing him a speedy recovery. Keep him involved as much as possible. It’s just a bad break.”
Kyrie Irving was characteristically difficult to understand while discussing Harden’s injury.
“I mean, it’s never easy to lose anybody, especially this time of the year where we just wanna have fun playing basketball and playing the right way and competing at a high level,” he said. “We’re obviously out there for bigger reasons, so when you see the game snatched away so early from one of our brothers, we feel for him, and we just had to make a quick adjustment and just adjust from there.”
Again, we don’t want to speculate until the results of Harden’s MRI are revealed. But even if he avoided a significant injury, the Nets reportedly — and understandably — will be cautious with the nine-time All-Star.
All that said, the Nets looked comfortable without Harden against the Bucks on Saturday, cruising to a 1-0 lead in their second-round NBA Playoffs series.