Harden has not played since injuring his hamstring early in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bucks. Truthfully, if Brooklyn held a 3-1 series lead and/or point guard Kyrie Irving was healthy, we doubt Harden would be suiting up in Game 5.
But instead the Nets and Bucks are tied at two games apiece and Irving is out with the sprained ankle he suffered in Sunday's Game 4 loss. As a result, "The Beard" doesn't want to leave Kevin Durant as the only member of the Nets' "Big Three" available tonight.
Not surprisingly, the sudden change of plans has spurred plenty of reaction around the NBA world.
Without question, this is a calculated gamble by Harden and the Nets. Even if his hamstring is feeling good, he runs the risk of reinjuring it by coming back too quickly.
When the stakes are raised though, these are the types of decisions guys make. We already saw Anthony Davis try (and fail) to gut it out in an elimination game for the Lakers.
Hopefully for the Nets, Harden will have more success playing through his injury tonight.