James Harden has been cleared to play for the Thunder, but will sit out Oklahoma City’s game Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.
“We decided as a group to hold him out one more game and give him 24 more hours,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “He should be fine in our recovery practice tomorrow as a team and our practice Friday.”
Harden suffered a concussion on a brutal elbow from Metta World Peace during Sunday’s Lakers-Thunder game. World Peace was given a seven-game suspension by the league for the play.
Brooks said he’s not concerned about any hangover or rust for Harden from the injury.
“I don’t think so. He’s fine,” Brooks said. “It would be different if you go to the basket and you go up and one of his monster dunks and he gets clipped and falls on his head and got a concussion that way. There might be a little difference because the next time you go to the basket you might think that. He’s not going to be thinking that. He’s a tough individual. He’s a competitive player. He’ll be fine.”
In order to play, Harden had to pass the league’s mandatory concussion tests led by Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher. With him cleared, he’s obviously available and expected to play in the Thunder’s opening round playoff series which will begin this weekend.