James Harden Injury: Updates on Rockets Star's Thumb and Return

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 29, 2014

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 20:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a play against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 20, 2014 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets star shooting guard James Harden will miss his team's game against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the American Airlines Center with a bruised left thumb.   

Updates from Saturday, Feb. 1

Rockets.com reporter Jason Friedman reports that Harden will play Saturday night:

James Harden will play tonight versus Cavs.

— Jason Friedman (@JasonCFriedman) February 2, 2014

Updates from Friday, Jan. 31

FOX 26's Mark Berman has an update on Harden's status:

James Harden had bruised left thumb wrapped after practice. Says he's not certain of status 4tomorrow night gainst Cavs. Missed last 2 games

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 31, 2014

Original Text

Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle reported on the injury before tipoff:

Harden leads the way for one of the Association's top offenses, scoring an average of 23.7 points per game while also pulling down just under five rebounds and dishing out 5.5 assists per contest.

Few in the league are better at drawing contact and getting to the free-throw line than Harden, who is averaging 8.7 attempts from the charity stripe each night this season. The 24-year-old's slashing style will have to be compensated for by point guard Jeremy Lin.

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle spoke earlier on Wednesday about Harden's questionable status and how formidable the Rockets are even without him, per the Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko:

They’re really good with him and they’re really good without him. So there’s no bargain either way. If he’s not out there, then (Dwight) Howard’s going to touch the ball 40 times in the post. What’s the bargain there? It’s just tough either way. We got to prepare for all scenarios. They’re two guys on the All-Star team, without question.

This doesn't appear to be too serious of an injury for Harden to overcome, but it is the second game in a row he's missed. It would have been ideal to have him on the floor as the Rockets look to remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture.  

The good news is the Rockets managed a victory over the San Antonio Spurs in their previous contest without Harden, so there is some recent success to draw on for this upcoming Lone Star State clash.