Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has apparently been dealing with an Achilles injury longer than previously known — and enduring more pain than he let on.
The Sixers star opened up about the nagging injury following the team’s March 29 win over the Dallas Mavericks, revealing for the first time that it has been bothering him for most of the season. After showing noticeable signs of discomfort in a March 20 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Harden missed the next four games while nursing the injury.
Speaking to reporters after Philadelphia’s win over the Dallas Mavericks on March 29, Harden revealed that he has been suffering the effects of the injury for months.
James Harden Speaks Out on Extent of Injury
Harden told reporters that he has been playing hurt for much of the season and the pain grew “unbearable” against the Bulls.
“I don’t know where it came from, but it’s been bothering me for some months, I would say,” Harden said, via The Athletic’s Rich Hoffman. “I just wanted to continue to play on it. There was one point to where, the last game I played, it was just really unbearable. I couldn’t even go out there. Six games left to finish this season off strong and then we got another week to prepare so I felt like tonight was the game to come back.”
Harden added that it didn’t bother him too much in the win over the Mavericks, just gave him some discomfort near the end of the game.
“I felt OK,” Harden told reporters. “Towards the end, I felt a little sore, but I expected that so just try to do the proper things to continue to maintain it and finish these last six games off.”
Joel Embiid Also Ailing
Harden is not the only key member of the Sixers dealing with aches and pains as the season enters its final stretch. Big man and MVP candidate Joel Embiid has also been hampered by calf soreness, which forced him to miss the team’s matchup against the Denver Nuggets this week.
“He felt great the last two games, but we’re just gonna take this slow and be smart,” Rivers said, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “We want to get him, and our whole team, healthy, for the playoffs. That’s the most important thing.”
Embiid also opened up about another nagging injury he’s been dealing with this season. The big man has been managing plantar fasciitis, which he said slowed him a lot more near the start of the season.
“It’s way better than it was starting the season,” Embiid told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “That’s kind of why I had a slow start those first few games dealing with it. It’s tough, but I think when it happened, the key was we got on top of it. We caught it at the beginning, so we did a bunch of stuff to make sure that we got on top of it, and by the time the season started, I was ramping up a little slower than usual. Just taking care of my body. I’ve come a long way when it comes to my body.”