Not even a full minute of game time had passed in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks before drama ensued. Just 43 seconds into the contest Nets’ star James Harden reaggravated his right hamstring. This is the same hamstring that Harden strained earlier this season that caused him to miss over a month of playing time.
‘The Beard’ has already been ruled out of Game 2 of the series, which will take place on Monday, June 7 at the Barclays Center. The Nets handled business in Game 1 against the Bucks winning a lot more easily than the final score of 115-107 depicts. Brooklyn’s other two All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving handled business combining for 54 points between the two of them. They may have to keep that same energy for the rest of the series as one doctor says Harden could once again be out for an extended period.
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Doctor Says James Harden Could Miss at Least a Month With Injury
The Nets are a much different team when Harden plays. This season with Harden, the Nets are nearly unstoppable as the team has a record of 29-7 in that span. According to licensed physical therapist Dr. Randy Chan, Harden could miss up to a month depending on the severity of his hamstring injury. A big blow to Brooklyn and their championship aspirations.
“Just looking at the mechanism of injury and his facial expressions, I’m guessing it’s a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, Grade 2 at the most. Keep in mind that this opinion is based on no medical data like MRI results or medical history,” Dr. Chan said to Landon Buford. “I would guess James Harden will be out for 4+ weeks, taking into consideration this is the 3rd time he strained the same right hamstring in less than 2.5 months. He might try to push through the pain, but it will dramatically increase the chance of a more severe tear to the same hamstring.”
Harden suffered that hamstring injury on Saturday, June 5. Based on Dr. Chan’s estimate, ‘The Beard’ could not only miss the remainder of the series with the Bucks, but also miss the entirety of the Eastern Conference Finals against either the Sixers or Hawks. To be even more realistic when you factor in the time Harden will need for on-court rehab, it is not even a guarantee that he will be ready for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on July 8, should the Nets make it that far without him.
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Steve Nash Optimistic Harden Can Return Against Bucks
Brooklyn has yet to reveal an official timetable of how long Harden will be out, but Nets Head Coach Steve Nash is remaining optimistic that he can rejoin the team before the end of this series against the Bucks as he knows that he will play a vital role in the Nets delivering the franchise its first-ever NBA title.
“I’m definitely hopeful of seeing him. It’s tightness and we’ve had this history before which was very difficult to predict how it’ll go. I’m very reluctant to make any prognosis but we’re really hopeful he heals quickly and can move past it,” Nash said on the possibility of Harden returning in the second-round per NetsDaily. “At this point, we just focus on the next game and understand he won’t be with us for the next game.”
The concerning part about Harden’s hamstring injury is that it seems to be a reoccurring one. Harden has reaggravated that same right Hamstring three times in less than three months. But here is where the luxury of having three all-world offensive talents on the same roster comes into play. Irving and Durant have proven that they are more than capable of picking up the slack in Harden’s absence. Gaining a 2-0 edge over the Bucks in Game 2 would be a major boost to the confidence of Brooklyn’s roster.