According to Darnell Mayberry, James Harden could be out for the next four weeks after straining his right hamstring.
Harden’s injury has some pretty significant playoff implications for the Thunder, though it shouldn’t affect their claim to a post-season berth; OKC is a full six games ahead of 9th place Memphis, meaning it would take a serious slide by the Thunder to fall out of the playoff picture altogether.
But the next few weeks are crucial for playoff squads still looking to fine-tune their rotations and establish some momentum headed into April. That definitely applies to OKC, a team which not only has to deal with the normal pressures and trials associated with post-season basketball, but must also conquer their inexperience (though they refuse to show it on a nightly basis), a factor which could certainly affect their performance come playoff time.
This is certainly an important time for the Thunder, and though Kyle Weaver recently returned to the team from a stint with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers (in which he averaged 12.4 points, 7.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks in 42.6 minutes, per Royce Young of Daily Thunder), the biggest problem isn’t replacing Harden’s production now. It’s whether or not he’ll fit seamlessly back into the rotation in a month’s time, and whether or not he’ll be healthy enough to contribute to the Thunder’s playoff run.