Head coach Steve Nash told reporters that the Nets made the decision to hold Harden out to "protect him from himself":
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.
Look for Joe Harris, Bruce Brown, Jeff Green and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to play bigger roles against Utah.