After James Harden was listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game in Portland and “struggling” with a sore neck according to Steve Nash, the former MVP went through pregame warm-ups before being cleared and put back into the league. starting lineup.
Harden had suffered the injury in a clash with Washington’s Garrison Matthews late in the first half of Sunday’s victory. He was down for several minutes being worked on by the Nets’ medical staff, but played the second half and played down the post-game injury.
“They beat me. That’s part of basketball, ”Harden shrugged before the Nets’ 116-112 victory Tuesday. “They hit me on the jaw. My neck moved a little. I’ll be fine. Is nothing. Get some treatment, get some rest, and get ready for the next game. “
It turns out that Harden was right.
Still, even before the neck problem, Nash had acknowledged his concern about the number of minutes the 31-year-old was racking up. Harden led the league on Tuesday with an average of 37.9 minutes played.
“I’m worried about the minutes,” Nash said. However, I am not sure what the answer is. Control the game. He has not thrown the ball well since [All-Star] break, but he [makes 3s], reaches the line. He makes assists, rebounds, steals. It’s great in the basket. … So it’s difficult to get him off the field because he improves his teammates ”.
Kevin Durant did not fly with the Nets on his trip and will not join them Wednesday in Utah or Friday in Detroit. But Nash said the paralyzed star could be about to return if this were the postseason.
“He just has to close out that last critical stage of his rehab,” Nash said. “He’s training on the court almost every day, he looks great. I’m just trying to make sure that the functional strength is there and that we are sure that I can play safely again. That’s the thing, right? “Kevin is doing very well. If these were the playoffs, there’s a chance that he would come back, you know, very soon, but it doesn’t make sense to take a big risk with him when the most important thing is to get him back for the rest of the season. “
After Blake Griffin posted a plus-12 record in a shortened 15-minute Nets debut Sunday, Nash said the forward’s minute limit would increase slowly and gradually.
Griffin played 19:24 against Portland.
“Very, very gradual. I definitely don’t want to get excited or overload it while we try to increase it, ”said Nash, who did not compromise on whether Griffin would play the Jazz. “Remember, he has played a game basically in a month. He could play more minutes but I definitely don’t want to jeopardize his long-term health. “
Landry Shamet (ankle) will miss the Utah game, although there is a chance he could join the team on Friday in Detroit. … Nash said he hopes Alize Johnson will join the Nets in Utah.