James Harden set to miss Rockets vs Clippers with hamstring injury

James Harden’s hamstring injury is “nothing serious” but the Houston Rockets star is rated very doubtful for their clash with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

Harden was hurt in the closing stages of the Rockets’ 100-89 loss against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night after scoring 29 points.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said on Thursday that the issue was “probably closer to a strain than just tightness”, his comments coming after a practice session Harden was absent from.

Harden is yet to undergo an MRI scan.

“He wouldn’t have gone out if it was just tight,” D’Antoni added.

“He probably felt a little bit more, I’m sure. But I don’t want to jump ahead. I don’t know exactly. I expect tomorrow will be tough [for Harden to play]. After that, I don’t know.”

Harden played down the injury after Wednesday’s game, saying it was nothing like as serious as the one which cost him seven games in January during his 2017-18 MVP season.

“It’s nothing serious. Nothing serious,” he said. “It’s not close to last year. Just being cautious.”

With James Ennis III also sidelined by a hamstring issue, D’Antoni is considering a first start for off-season acquisition Carmelo Anthony against the Clippers.

Point guard Chris Paul will be back after his two-game suspension as the Rockets look to battle back from a 1-3 start against the 2-2 Clippers at Houston’s Toyota Center.

Paul was banned for his part in a brawl against the Los Angeles Lakers last weekend, during which it was claimed Rajon Rondo had spat at him.

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