Nets again ‘hopeful’ that James Harden will return to lineup Tuesday

James Harden
James Harden walks to the locker room before a game against the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There is just no catching a break when it comes to the Nets and injuries. James Harden missed Saturday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors because of a right-hand strain and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play on Tuesday in Phoenix against the Suns.

It just seemed to be the way the past few weeks have gone for the Nets every time it looked as though they’d get more than one star on the court. Kyrie Irving was back in the lineup with Brooklyn on the road, but just before game time, Harden was downgraded to being out against the Warriors.

“James’ hand has been bothering him for a few days at least,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “He thought it was nothing and then it really flared up this morning when he woke up so, obviously, he irritated what he was feeling yesterday and this morning he woke up with some irritation so he had the scan.”

Harden did undergo an MRI, which ruled out anything major, but it did reveal the strain in his hand. Nash told reporters that Harden originally said it was nothing, but it had become a little bit more than that.

“It’s a little more than nothing. He woke up with a marked difference in the hand,” Nash said.

Now the question becomes whether or not he can play in Arizona. The Nets kicked off a five-game west coast trip on Saturday in Golden State and will head to Phoenix on Tuesday, Sacramento on Wednesday, Utah on Friday, and Denver on Sunday.

Nash wasn’t sure about Harden’s status for Tuesday’s game when he addressed the media on Saturday.

“I do not,” Nash said when asked if he had an update on Harden. “We’ll have to see how it settles, but we’re hopeful.”

The Nets’ coach could not pinpoint a specific incident that led to the current situation with Harden, who already missed Wednesday’s loss at Barclays Center with a different injury — a hamstring strain — when the new ailment occurred.

“He’s said he’s had it for a number of days, so I think the deduction would be that he irritated it shooting and lifting,” Nash said.