James Harden in walking boot, could miss multiple weeks with foot strain

Out of seemingly nowhere, the Sixers have announced that James Harden will miss a month due to a tendon strain in his right foot. There was speculation that the injury occurred last Wednesday when he appeared to have injured his leg when he banged knees on a drive, but that is apparently unrelated. He continued to play after the drive, scoring 24 points that game. 

Harden is now in a walking boot and cannot put any weight on his injured foot for at least the first week of his recovery. He is expected to be re-evaluated in two weeks, so we might get a better idea of his return at that point. Given the expected month recovery time, we are calling this a grade 2 strain in his foot. Cutting, jumping, and explosiveness are all affected by discomfort in the foot, so making sure Harden is feeling solid during those movements is going to be the lynchpin to his healthy return. Coach Doc Rivers also expressed concern for Harden’s ability to maintain conditioning throughout rehab, likely in hopes that Harden won’t have to miss anymore time getting back into basketball shape after being out for multiple weeks.  

The Sixers are already without Joel Embiid as he deals with an illness, so losing Harden certainly hurts scoring opportunities. A few players who will see some increased usage are Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz and De’Anthony Melton.

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