"We want to be cautious with him," Nets coach Steve Nash said before the game. "And also just build up his strength a little bit for one or two more days, and hopefully he's able to go on Sunday. But whenever we get that strength and that recuperation of a little strength deficit, we feel like he'll be safe to go, but just being cautious."
Nash does not believe that Harden, who missed a Jan. 26 loss to the Denver Nuggets because of the same injury, will need an MRI on the hamstring.
"I don't think it's that bad," Nash said. "I think it's more precaution, really make sure we can strengthen him, give him an extra day. See if that gives us big dividends. It's not worth risking him being -- like last year when we lost him for an extended period, just being very cautious."
Nash said after the team's loss Wednesday to the Kings that he believed Harden, who also missed the defeat to the Golden State Warriors last Saturday because of a right hand strain, "looked like he didn't have his legs." Harden scored just four points in that game and went 2-for-11 from the field in 37 minutes.
Prior to the Friday game, Nash said he thought the lingering hamstring issue was a reason for Harden's poor performance.
"I think the last [game] for sure," Nash said. "I think he felt some awareness of it -- I know it was a factor."
Prior to the news of Harden's injury, Nash tried to pump the positivity for his struggling team. The Nets come into the game Friday having lost six straight.
"I think we're constantly trying to push these guys in a direction, keep their spirits high," Nash said after the shootaround. "These opportunities can be great for us, really face adversity, find solutions, dig out of a hole. I love this s---. That's what I had to do many, many times to have a career, let alone to make it.
"So I think for our group this is an opportunity to grow our resolve, to really double down on what we're trying to accomplish. We can't make excuses with all the variables: injuries, interruptions, illnesses, whatever it is. The shifting landscape of availability, we can't control that. If history tells us, that's kind of a constant. So if we're lucky enough to have a great run of health, that's what we all want, but we can't wait for that. We got to get better."