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Rockets’ James Harden getting an MRI, ‘very doubtful’ vs. Clippers

James Harden, Rockets, Clippers

Houston Rockets guard James Harden is “very doubtful” to play against the LA Clippers on Friday after missing Thursday morning’s practice, instead receiving an MRI, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Harden downplayed the injury after coming out of the game with five minutes left in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz, as the Rockets came back from a 16-point deficit to close it to five.

The Beard said this left hamstring injury wasn’t nearly as bad as the one he sustained early in the season during the 2017-18 campaign, which forced him out for an extended period.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni said Harden’s injury is “probably closer to a strain than just tightness” as it was initially diagnosed.

The Rockets are 1-3 on the young season and 0-2 without floor general Chris Paul, who missed the last two games with a suspension from the league office after his role in the brawl with the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

Houston will get Paul back for the runback against the Clippers (Paul missed the initial road game after being informed of the suspension), but will likely have Harden sidelined for the foreseeable future until a timetable for his return is determined.

Clutch City should get a boost defensively with Paul back at the helm while Eric Gordon slides to the off-guard spot until the MVP’s impending return — yet making it all come together should prove the team’s first true test of the season after a rousing 65-win campaign in 2017-18.