It’s Time to Be Concerned About James Harden’s Hamstring StrainOctober 30, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments
James Harden exited last Thursday’s game when he started to experience tightness in his left hamstring. The Rockets claimed his absence was precautionary, but an MRI the following day revealed a grade 1 strain. After the diagnosis, the Rockets ruled Harden out for the next two games and said he would be re-evaluated in a week. The Rockets have said that it’s unlikely Harden is cleared to play before Friday’s game,which is in line with our analysis. According to the Inside Injuries algorithm, one week is not enough time to heal a grade 1 hamstring strain. A more realistic Optimal Recovery Time is about 3 weeks. Now, he won’t necessarily miss that much time, but if he returns in less than three weeks he will be at a very high risk of re-injury.
It’s also important to consider that Harden missed time last year with a grade 2 strain (slight tear) in his left hamstring. Harden only missed two weeks while recovering from the previous strain, which our algorithm indicated at the time was too short. Though he seemed fine after his return, the hamstring might not have had the chance to heal completely after just two weeks. Lingering weakness in the muscle could have made Harden more susceptible to an aggravation this season.
Given that this seems to have become a lingering problem, the Rockets should be extremely cautious with Harden’s return. While our algorithm is projecting a 3 week Optimal Recovery Time, Harden will likely need more time for his Injury Risk to improve from High Risk to Elevated. Harden’s Health Performance Factor is also Poor, which means if he tries to play before the end of his 3 week ORT, he will be severely hampered by the injury.