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James Harden expected to be fine for Saturday

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The Beard is almost always available. You didn’t think he was going to miss Game 3, did you?

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden took a nasty shot to the dome from Draymond Green in Game 2 that caused him to miss about a quarter of action with an eye injury and also put him as the butt of a new internet meme, boos from the Golden State crowd, and even some criticism from the Twitterverse that he was somehow faking. Seriously, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t recall this happening to any other star player after suffering a legitimate injury.

Draymond Green, to his credit, walked up and apologized to Harden after the play. In what sick, twisted world is Green, nut-kicker extraordinaire, the civil one in these types of matters?

Anyway, Harden was bleeding from both of his eyes in Game 2, and even though he came back into the game and actually played better post-injury, there was enough concern about the injury that The Beard was sent for further testing.

Thankfully, the results showed no cornea damage for Harden, and he is expected to be fine for Saturday’s Game 3 in H-town. He told ESPN that he’s still dealing with some pain, but the blurriness has begun to clear up:

“Nah, still tough, especially in bright lights. But I can see y’all a little bit better, so that’s all that matters.”

Naturally, Harden was one of the first guys on the court today, though it’s yet to be determined if he would get in a full practice.

That’s one of the qualities often overlooked about Harden from his critics: availability.

The guy just wants to play basketball, and if there’s anyway he can be out there, you can be certain that he will be. And this isn’t just a playoff phenomenon. Harden is an iron man in the regular season as well, occasionally in the past maybe even to his detriment.

Since coming to Houston in 2012, The Beard has played in 545 out of a possible 574 games, or almost 95 percent. That’s simply an incredible number for someone with his usage.

Harden might not be at fully 100 percent, but you can bet he’ll out there. And with the Rockets playing in H-town and needing a victory, I think we’re about to see a classic Beard game. He’s due.