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James Harden experiences setback in recovery from hamstring injury, out indefinitely

Nets announced Tuesday the superstar is not close to returning with about a month left in the regular season.

James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 17, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets G James Harden has experienced a setback in his recovery from a hamstring strain and is out indefinitely, the team announced Tuesday evening. Harden was injured on April 5 early in a win over the New York Knicks. The Nets are also without Kevin Durant, who is out Tuesday with a thigh contusion. Brooklyn will continue to proceed with caution until the playoffs begin. That could mean we don’t see much of Harden or Durant until the end of May.

Harden was 25/1 to win NBA MVP heading into Tuesday’s action. At this point, he’s running out of games to qualify for the award. It’s only a matter of time before Harden drops down in the odds to win MVP. Especially with what Nikola Jokic (-400) and Stephen Curry (+2000) have been up to. So this likely means the end of any Harden MVP hype this season.

Harden’s scoring has dropped since he joined Brooklyn, but he’s still averaging 25.2 points per contest. His playmaking is what makes the Nets so dangerous, though, and he leads the NBA with 10.9 assists per game. Kyrie Irving and Durant getting to move freely while Harden orchestrates the offense made Brooklyn the odds-on favorite to win the NBA Finals. If all three stars aren’t on the court together down the stretch in the regular season, other contenders could creep up on the Nets.

Nets coach Steve Nash came out and told reporters Harden could be held out until the postseason. Should this impact how we look at the Nets in terms of championship odds and odds to go to the NBA Finals? So the worst case scenario is Harden and Durant can’t get 100 percent and the Milwaukee Bucks jump the Nets for second place. That would possibly set up a first round matchup with the New York Knicks, which will probably be a grind (and a great first-round matchup).