Brooklyn Nets star guard James Harden, once a top Most Valuable Player candidate for the 2020-21 NBA season, hasn’t played since he reaggravated a previous hamstring injury on April 5 and has been “out indefinitely” after suffering a setback on April 20.
According to Malika Andrews of ESPN, the 31-year-old said Thursday he is “very confident” he will “play a couple games before the postseason” starts later this month. The Nets host the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 16 to close out their regular-season slate.
“We wanted to be patient,” Harden said of the team’s approach following his setback. “As much as I love to hoop, I want to be out there, but you’ve got to be smart. And for me, it was just, ‘Let’s knock this thing out, let’s get this thing healthy so we can make a push.'”
BetOnline.ag lists the Nets as the overall betting favorites to win the NBA Finals at +200 even though the trio of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has played in just seven games together since Harden joined Brooklyn in January. The Nets are second in the Eastern Conference standings and two games back of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Brooklyn plays six more times between Thursday night and May 16.