Just when you thought it couldn’t worse, it has.
Just before Steve Nash’s pregame presser, our phones buzzed; a press release broke courtesy of Brooklyn’s PR team.
James Harden had suffered an on-court “setback” while rehabilitating his right hamstring and will be out “indefinitely.”
Soon, the news was big news…
The Nets will continue to be cautious with Harden, and there’s a possibility that Harden’s return could come closer to the start of the playoffs in a month, sources tell ESPN. For now, he will continue to be out. https://t.co/HIBOKFDwUz
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 20, 2021
The Nets have played seven games with Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court together this season. It’s becoming clear that they won’t get to play more than a few more — if any — before the playoffs start.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 20, 2021
The setback, tweeted Shams Charania, took place Monday during his ramo-up.
Nets say James Harden experienced a setback while conducting on-court rehab on Monday and will be out indefinitely with hamstring strain.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 20, 2021
A defeated-looking Steve Nash spoke on the matter prior to the tip of Tuesday’s game in New Orleans. Like the rest of us, he learned of the news shortly before the start of his presser.
“I was at the workout but we didn’t know until he got the scan. I just found out that news as well,” said Nash. “We’re back to square one, we’ll rehabilitate him and get him back whenever we can. Who knows when that’ll be, but we’ll support James and we’ll support our performance team in getting him back in as best condition as possible and hopefully that comes as soon as possible.”
The setback wasn’t related to a stumble, fall, or anything of the sort to reaggravated the hamstring. Rather, Harden felt a “strain” while working out and notified the staff immediately.
“He just felt it,” said Nash. “He just felt something maybe in the ballpark of a strain, and then the scan revealed that he did suffer a setback. Not much more to it other than disappointment and we have to rebuild and get him going again.”
So you might be asking, how long does “indefinitely” entail? While ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harden could return closer to the start of the playoffs in a month, Steve Nash left the door a little more open.
“He’ll be back when he’s back. That may not be until the playoffs, it might be sooner,” said Nash. “We have no control over that other than working as hard as we can to support him and get him back to full health and being able to play again. We’re prepared for whenever when that may be.”
While Harden’s hamstring setback is a blow to the Nets, Brooklyn got good news with regards to Kevin Durant’s injury. Durant, who’ll miss Tuesday’s game with a left thigh contusion and likely Wednesday’s game against the Raptors, is viewed as day-to-day following a positive scan.
“Kevin is more positive. He had a scan and it’s more of a day-to-day thing,” Nash said. “We’ll see if it’s in the next few days or more but the scan wasn’t alarming or negative in that respect. We are hopeful he can be back soon.”
Nash didn’t provide a further update on Nicolas Claxton and Reggie Perry, who are both on the league’s health and safety protocols. Nash said it’s too early to understand the details of their respective situations, but the Nets’ young bigs are both out Tuesday against the Pelicans.
“I don’t. I just know they are in the protocol. I’m not sure how long that is going to last or what that entails,” Nash said. “I don’t know the test out of that right now. I think it’s still early to understand exactly what we’re dealing with. For tonight, they’re both in the protocol and unavailable.”
With just nine available players, Nash and the Nets have some decision-making to do with Blake Griffin, who hasn’t played in the second game of a back-to-back since his arrival. Nash says the decision will be made Wednesday whether Griffin will play against the Raptors.
“We have nine tonight. There is a chance Blake can play back-to-back. We’ll see how it goes tonight and make those decisions tomorrow,” Nash said. “It’s a tricky stretch for us here. We are getting very close to the playoffs and dealing with many different physical ailments on different fronts so, navigating the schedule is going to be as important as our performances. Very difficult stretch for us coming up here. We just got to stay positive, chip away, get better and also not allow guys to be over-exposed to unnecessary injuries.”
Looking ahead, Nash will be forced to dig deep into his bench due to Brooklyn’s lack of availability, and he hopes his team can escape New Orleans without any additional injuries.
“All of those guys got to play,” Nash said. “All those guys at the fringe of the rotation or out of the rotation are going to have to play. We have nine guys available tonight and in the game tomorrow night. Hopefully, we come out of this game in one piece and can move on to Tampa and the Raptors tomorrow night.”