NEW YORK – James Harden and Jeff Green have been ruled out for Game 3 of the Brooklyn Nets’ playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
On Wednesday after practice, coach Steve Nash and Green raised the possibility that Green could return as early as Game 4 on Sunday. However, when asked when Harden might be available to play, Nash said he couldn’t “set a time yet.”
“He’s progressing really well too,” Nash said of Harden. “So we are optimistic that we can have him back at some point.”
Harden officially played 43 seconds of the Nets’ first game against the Bucks on Saturday. In the opening stretch, he drove to the basket and exited the play by clutching the back of his right hamstring. The Nets called for a timeout and Harden immediately returned to the team locker room. They diagnosed him with what the team calls “right hamstring strain.” Nash said Harden’s MRI revealed no structural damage.
Game three of the Eastern Conference semifinal series will be the second straight game Harden will miss. Nash said Sunday that Harden has “high hopes” and wants to “come back as soon as possible,” but added that the team needs to balance its desire to have Harden back with the protection of the All-Star guard from any long-term injury. Harden previously missed 18 games in the regular season with a right hamstring strain and two games with a right hamstring strain.
Green, who spoke to reporters for the first time since injuring his left plantar fascia in Game 2 of the Nets’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics, said he has been dealing with plantar fascia issues all season. . However, when he caught a Harden balloon in the game against Boston, it landed awkwardly. Since then, Green said his foot hurt and he had a hard time standing and cutting on the court.
Green says he can run more comfortably now, but he hasn’t participated in practice yet. Cutting, which is a big part of his game, is still difficult. Green compared the discomfort to having a “very, very sprained ankle, but on the sole of the foot.”
“I hate being out,” Green said. “As James always says [Harden], he always prides himself on being available to his peers, and I am the same way. And it’s painful to be outside. That’s why you see me on the sidelines in every play, trying to be a voice from the touchline, but not being physically out there is difficult. “
The Nets head into Thursday’s game leading the series 2-0.