"I wasn't feeling well at all, but the doc came in and just told me that there's going to be pain for a bit, but you can play through it," Harden said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. "It can't get worse, but it's going to be pretty painful until obviously you give it some time. Once he said that, I was like, 'Let's go.'"
Harden has been durable throughout his career. The only time he failed to play at least 73 games in a season since he entered the league in 2009 was the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign.
Losing Harden long term would of course be devastating for Houston's title chances. The five-time All-Star directs the offense with his ability to hit from three, drive the lane, finish through contact and find open teammates when defenders collapse.
He averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds a night as one of the best players in the league in 2016-17. He's arguably been better this season, posting 31.5 points, 9.1 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game.
The Rockets do have other pieces in the backcourt who will be asked to shoulder more of the load should Harden's knee issue eventually force him to miss time. Chris Paul can handle the ball and score as a fellow All-Star, while Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson can hit shots on the wing.