The Brooklyn Nets knew that they’d be without Kevin Durant against the team that has the second-best record in the NBA but fans didn’t expect to be without James Harden, too. It’ll be up to Kyrie Irving to lead the Nets against Steph Curry and the Warriors.
Harden sat out against Denver on Wednesday night on the second half of a back-to-back due to hamstring tightness, which is no longer an issue. Three nights later, he was a late scratch due to a right-hand strain.
Ahead of the game in San Francisco, Steve Nash said that Harden’s hand has been bothering him for a few days. According to Nash, Harden thought that his hand was fine, but when he woke up on Saturday morning, it had flared up.
Brooklyn’s had to make do without two of its starters because of injuries (Durant and Joe Harris) and the recent update on Harden’s hand isn’t reassuring, especially when you consider the timing.
Have the Brooklyn Nets been transparent about James Harden’s injury?
If Harden’s hand has been bothering him for several days, could that be part of the reason why he didn’t play against the Nuggets?
The first that Nets fans knew of the injury was a couple of hours before Saturday’s tip-off against Golden State when it was announced that he was a game-time decision.
While it’s discouraging that Brooklyn will be down another star in a key matchup, it’s far more discouraging that there’s a chance that Harden could miss an extended number of games.
The playoffs start in two-and-a-half months and the Nets’ Big Three have only played in a total of 16 games together since Harden was traded to Brooklyn in January of 2021.
Harden’s injury update also gave fans flashbacks to Tuesday’s contest against the Lakers, when Chris Haynes reported that Harris traveled to Indianapolis on Monday to receive a second opinion on his ankle. He hasn’t played in a game for the Nets in over 10 weeks when his original timetable was four-to-eight weeks.
Meanwhile, Harden did receive an MRI on Saturday morning and Nash said that he believes that the guard’s hand was irritated due to a combination of shooting and lifting weights.
Regardless, it seems like the organization hasn’t been transparent when it comes to injuries. Perhaps Brooklyn was hoping that Harden would be able to play against the Warriors, which is why the decision came down to right before the start of the game.
Hopefully, Harden’s hand sprain doesn’t develop into something more, but if it does, will the Nets be upfront about it?