James Harden Says Knee Injury 'Can't Get Worse'; Will Play Through Pain

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 25: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets warms up before Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals game of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 25, 2017 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.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston Rockets guard James Harden confirmed he suffered a bruised right knee Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs that nearly kept him out of Saturday night's win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

"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.

Related

    Who Will Be an All-Star First for Lakers?

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Who Will Be an All-Star First for Lakers?

    Eric Pincus
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Cavs Interested in DeAndre, Lou Williams, George Hill

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Cavs Interested in DeAndre, Lou Williams, George Hill

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Potential Trade Packages for Kemba

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Potential Trade Packages for Kemba

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    Boogie Doesn't Think Pels Will Trade Him Before Deadline

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Boogie Doesn't Think Pels Will Trade Him Before Deadline

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report