James Harden Ruled Out for Nets vs. Trail Blazers with Knee Injury

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) is shown against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden will miss Monday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers because of a left knee hyperextension.   

After an injury-plagued 2020-21 season that saw him play in just 44 regular-season games, the three-time NBA scoring champion has remained mostly durable during the current campaign. He did miss some time while in the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Harden, 32, has struggled with his shot throughout the season (41.7 percent FG%), which has led to a drop in his overall production. He's still been an important offensive driver for the Nets, averaging 22.4 points, 9.7 assists and 8.1 rebounds through 34 appearances.

Brooklyn has dealt with a lot of moving parts throughout the year because of injuries and COVID-19 issues. Kyrie Irving can lead the offense in road games, while DeAndre' Bembry and Cam Thomas are options for more playing time on the wing when Harden is out.

The Nets being forced to use various different lineups should be a benefit over the long haul. That said, having Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant available come playoff time is still the most important factor in their title hopes.