James Harden is back…
And Kyrie Irving is probably out.
We may not see Brooklyn’s big three on the court together again before the playoffs. The good news is Harden is expected to play on Wednesday against San Antonio, an important game for the Nets as they try to secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The bad news is Irving is questionable after taking an elbow to the face from Nikola Vucevic on Tuesday night that knocked him out of the game.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) May 12, 2021
Harden — who has been out since April 5 with a hamstring strain — plans to play Wednesday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Nets star James Harden plans to play tonight vs. Spurs, assuming pregame warmups go smoothly, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Harden is on the cusp of his return after missing over one month with a hamstring strain.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 12, 2021
While Irving did not suffer a concussion from the elbow according to the Nets, the first X-rays were inconclusive and it would be later Wednesday before the extent of the injury was known. Whether he can play Wednesday, and how much time he might miss beyond the Spurs game, will depend on what doctors find.
Brooklyn will gain a big advantage by having five or six days off during the play-in games. It’s a chance for their stars and entire roster to get healthy, plus work on chemistry during practices.
Brooklyn is working to hold on to the two seed in the East, they have a one-game cushion over the Bucks, but Milwaukee has the tiebreaker. Brooklyn controls its own destiny: Win out in the final three games — San Antonio, Chicago, Cleveland — and they stay in second.