James Harden’s injured left hamstring likely will keep him out of Houston’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night while Cleveland’s Kevin Love will miss the Cavaliers’ game against Detroit on Thursday night because of a sore left foot.
Harden didn’t practice on Thursday after leaving the Rockets’ loss to Utah on Wednesday because of tightness in the hamstring during the fourth quarter.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t completely rule out last season’s MVP for Friday’s game but said it’s “very doubtful” that he’ll play.
Harden scored 29 points in the 100-89 defeat to the Jazz that dropped the Rockets to 1-3 before heading to the locker room with just more than five minutes remaining.
D’Antoni says Harden will have an MRI exam on Thursday and that they’ll know more about his injury after that but noted it’s probably a bit more serious than simply tightness.
“He’s getting an MRI so that will tell us something and then it’s probably closer to a strain than it is tightness,” D’Antoni said. “He wouldn’t have gone out if it was just tightness. He felt a little bit more, I’m sure.”
Harden missed seven games last season with a Grade 2 hamstring strain and said after the game this was not the same type of injury.
“It’s nothing serious. Nothing serious,” he said. “It’s not close to last year. Just being cautious.”
Love missed three preseason games with an unspecified injury in the same foot. He was favoring his foot following Wednesday’s home loss to Brooklyn, and after traveling with the team to Detroit, the Cavaliers ruled him out several hours before tip-off.
It’s not yet known if he will be able to play Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers.
Love scored 14 points against the Nets, who pulled away in the second half and dropped the Cavs to 0-4 in their first season since 2013-14 without LeBron James.
Love is one of only three players left from Cleveland’s 2016 NBA title team. He’s averaging 19.0 points and 13.5 rebounds, but is shooting just 32.3 percent from the field. He signed a $120 million contract extension this summer.
Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis will miss four to six weeks because of a moderately sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. The Bulls announced Thursday he is out until at least late November. Portis — averaging 10.5 points in his fourth season — joined a lengthy list of injured Chicago players in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win over Charlotte. Point guard Kris Dunn suffered a similar injury to his left knee in a loss at Dallas on Monday. He also missed the first two games for the birth of his first child. Lauri Markkanen is out until at least mid-November because of an elbow injury.