76ers’ James Harden Ruled out vs. Bulls With Achilles Injury | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
The Philadelphia 76ers ruled out star point guard James Harden for Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls because of an Achilles injury, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
Harden, 33, missed about a month of action in November with a right foot tendon strain. That left the Sixers incredibly short-handed in the backcourt, as fellow starter Tyrese Maxey also missed time with a left foot fracture.
It was a tough break for Harden, who was excellent to start the season after a tough 2021-22 campaign, averaging 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the field in his first nine games.
He was also more aggressive on offense than during his initial run with the Sixers last season, attempting 15.9 field goals per game early in the season compared to 13.6 in his 21 games last year (and 13.2 attempts per game in the playoffs).
The concern in the 2021-22 season was that injuries and his previously heavy workload earlier in his career had led to Harden losing a step. That didn’t appear to be the case early in the 2022-23 season, though the hope was that his injury setback didn’t lead to his less inspiring form from last season.
Harden picked up where he left off once he returned from that November setback, averaging 21.4 points and an NBA-leading 10.8 assists per game overall this season.
The Sixers will only go as far as the duo of Joel Embiid and Harden can take them, so any injury to either player is a major concern in Philadelphia. If Harden is forced to miss time, look for players like De’Anthony Melton and Shake Milton to see a bump in minutes.