James Harden and Jeff Green will both miss Game 3 for the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night in Milwaukee, but Green is hopeful he can play later in the series.
The Nets lead the best-of-7 series 2-0 after beating the Bucks by 39 points in Game 2 on Monday night. They have a 93 percent chance to win the Eastern Conference series, according to ESPN.
Green hasn’t played since Game 2 against the Boston Celtics on May 25 due to a strained plantar fascia, while Harden left 43 seconds into Game 1 with hamstring tightness.
“Jeff is out [Thursday] but progressing nicely and we hope he’s back if not Game 4 or Game 5, but he’s definitely on the right track and I think highly possible that he plays sooner rather than later,” head coach Steve Nash said Wednesday.
He added of Harden: “James will miss Game 3 but he’s progressing nicely as well, so we’re optimistic we can have him back at some point but we can’t set a timeline yet.”
The Nets haven’t missed either player so far as others like Blake Griffin, Joe Harris and Mike James have stepped up to support Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving offensively.
On defense, Durant, Nic Claxton and the Nets have held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 23-of-39 shooting from the field while he has shot 2-of-10 from the foul line.
Green is considered a key front court piece for the Nets as they move forward in the playoffs, both against the Bucks and potentially against the Philadelphia 76ers should both teams advance to the East Finals.
“Things have been great, progressing well,” Green said Wednesday. “I’m feeling good, it’s been a slow process but I’m getting better day by day and hopefully maybe Game 4, I don’t know. We gotta see how I feel the next couple days to get back out on the court.”
Green, who averaging 11.0 points and 3.9 rebounds, said he’s able to run but can’t cut hard due to the plantar fascia injury. He said he re-aggravated it in Game 2 when Harden fed him for a dunk. Now he has “discomfort” that he compared to a “really, really bad sprained ankle.”
“I just kind of came down in an awkward position and strained it,” he said, adding that it’s “manageable” and he hopes to “get back out there and do what I can.”
He added: “If I was practicing I’d be playing. I’m doing what I can at this stage to get ready, whenever I get the green light to do that