James Harden Ruled out for Nets vs. Jazz with Neck Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets star James Harden will miss Wednesday's game against the Utah Jazz with neck soreness, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Head coach Steve Nash told reporters that the Nets made the decision to hold Harden out to "protect him from himself":

Nets Videos @SNYNets

Steve Nash talks about the decision to sit out James Harden tonight vs. Utah with neck soreness: "I think tonight it was the smartest and safest decision to protect him from himself" https://t.co/POgmhxs0Gu

Nash also noted he hopes it's a short-term injury.

Harden missed time earlier this season with a thigh injury but has been durable throughout his career. In fact, the shortened 2011-12 and 2019-20 seasons are the only times he failed to play at least 72 games since he came into the league as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft.

When healthy, he is one of the best playmakers in the league.

His resume includes the 2017-18 MVP, three scoring titles, seven All-NBA selections, an assist title and nine All-Star selections. He can break down opposing defenders off the dribble, hit step-back three-pointers with ease and facilitate to his teammates when double teams come his way.

Harden is averaging 25.4 points, 11.5 assists and 8.7 rebounds for the Nets this season.

While Brooklyn is typically among the league's best-equipped teams when it comes to dealing with the loss of a star like Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are also both out.

Look for Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, Jeff Green and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to play bigger roles against Utah.