James Harden Leaves Game vs. Lakers After Hamstring Injury Diagnosed as Strain

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2018

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Washington. The Wizards won 121-103. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Houston Rockets guard James Harden left Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers after suffering a left hamstring strain in the fourth quarter, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26.

Harden, 28, had 40 points and 11 assists before exiting.

In the midst of another MVP-level campaign, Harden came into Sunday's game averaging 32.1 points, 9.0 assists and 5.1 rebounds this season. He has led the Rockets to a 25-9 record before Sunday's marathon contest against the Lakers and is considered one of the favorites to win the MVP alongside players like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Rockets will rely more heavily on Chris Paul if Harden misses any extended time. He has not missed a game all season due to injury, though he has battled through a lingering knee problem that first cropped up in December.    

Eric Gordon should see his minutes expand as well in Harden's absence.

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