Philadephia 76ers James Harden announces he will be sitting out through All-Star break due to his hamstring injury, reported ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. He continues to rehab the hamstring strain that kept him out of the final few games as a Brooklyn Net.
“I think it’s more to make sure he’s right, healthy, and ready to go,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers told reporters after Monday’s practice.
Harden is expected to be introduced Tuesday afternoon, prior to the game against the Boston Celtics. However, due to his injury, his first time to suit up in a 76ers uniform will be, February 25. They will be playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minnesota. His first possible home game will come in early March against the New York Knicks. Apparently, Harden has begun trying to build chemistry with young guard Tyrese Maxey. Rivers has already made it clear that Maxey will remain in the backcourt and play alongside Harden. He will be replacing Ben Simmons as the starring point guard.
“We didn’t do anything live, but he did all the skeleton [drill] work, all the defensive walk-through stuff, all the shooting,” Rivers said. “He did everything everybody else did. Obviously, he’s a high-IQ basketball player. So the stuff we do, he does anyway, and the other stuff we threw him out there, and he kind of figured it out.”
James Harden’s schedule for return
Harden is on a very rigorous and tight schedule. He is attempting to get in the flow of things to return ASAP to game form, per ESPN. The 76ers are attempting to race the playoffs. As of right now, Philadelphia has just over six weeks and exactly 24 games, to get Harden up to speed. With the playoffs are right around the corner, if they can rest him to health in a time of the playoffs the 76ers become a huge contender at the NBA finals. Coach Rivers downplays how hard it is to catch harden up to speed after his health is restored.
“Listen, putting James Harden into an offense is not that hard. It really isn’t. I mean, he’s just a terrific basketball player, so you don’t need to overcomplicate it,” Rivers said. “You know where he’s been great at, you know which direction he wants to go, and so you put him on those sides of the floor.
“A couple of the things we run, today our guys automatically flipped it without me saying a word. … we always run it the opposite way. I didn’t say a word and Tyrese ran it on the opposite side of the floor. They just did it,” Rivers continued.
Many of Harden’s teammates and Rivers emphasized that the next few weeks will be very different than previous weeks. Due to the trade, the practices will begin to get more intense in an attempt to get everyone on the same page as quickly as possible.