“[I feel] like s***, honestly.”
That was James Harden‘s honest assessment of his health following the Nets’ elimination from the playoffs on Saturday night, via Brian Lewis at the New York Post. Harden played through what the Nets officially called “right hamstring tightness,” but Harden admitted after the game was a lot more serious than that.
James Harden says that he has been playing through a Grade 2 hamstring strain. The team had been calling it hamstring tightness.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 20, 2021
Harden has a history of hamstring issues and with a Grade 2 injury – a partial tear of the muscle — has missed more than two weeks in the past.
In this case, on a Nets team considered a title favorite until injuries hit them hard, he came back early to try to help and admitted his frustration after the Nets were eliminated in Game 7 Saturday. Harden scored 22 points in the game but shot 2-of-12 from three and struggled to defend Jrue Holiday in the fourth quarter.
“So many emotions. Me personally, frustration for myself [not] being durable and being myself [like] the last so many postseasons. Dealing with his particular hamstring, it’s frustrating. I’m frustrated. We did everything we could.’’
The Nets will come back likely title favorites next season, with a healthy big three to start the season and a tweaked roster around them (Spencer Dinwiddie is a free agent, for example). Whether Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving can stay healthy will be the question that follows them all season long.