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I hope James Harden is okay

Both Sarah and Michael Lee have already written about the end of Wednesday night’s Rockets-Wizards game, but I wanted to add a few words of my own.

Here they are:

I hope James Harden is okay.

Specifically, I hope his head is okay. Sports are supposed to be about fun, and when you see someone’s head take the sort of damage inflicted upon Harden’s dome Wednesday night, you have to sort of pause, and forget about all the wins and losses, and just hope for the best.

If you didn’t see the play, here’s what happened. With less than five seconds left and the Rockets down by two, Trevor Ariza grabbed Harden’s upper arm. I hope Harden’s upper arm is okay, too. Fingers can hurt. This isn’t a joke.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)


The two men then tangoed together toward the top of the key. Ariza’s left hand, at this point, was resting on Harden’s lower back. A lower back can only take so many resting hands before it gives out. I’ve had lower back pain; it’s serious. So I hope Harden’s lower back is okay.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)

Now, as they danced on, their arms became even more intertwined. As you can clearly see, Ariza’s left forearm was now on top of Harden’s right forearm. Do you know how much a forearm weighs? Got to be at least 10 pounds or something. And all that weight was resting on top of Harden’s forearm. Hope his forearm’s okay.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)

But that’s all kind of silly. Because now things got serious. Harden’s body had taken so much punishment over the past few moments that his neck suddenly became unable to support his head. And his head snapped back, in truly terrifying fashion. You’ve never seen a head snap back like that. This was a Pez dispenser. Being hit with a hammer.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)

I mean, look at his head.  It’s right there. His head is literally parallel to the ground. Everyone else’s head is normal and upright, and one man’s head is sideways and not upright and not right at all. It just looks painful, is all. I’m worried about him. I hope he’s okay.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)

Here’s a reverse angle. If you hadn’t watched the play at all, you’d assume a crazed lunatic with the power of invisibility had streaked onto the court, socked Harden in the face and then socked him again, while nine other man stared in amazement. Just think how much his arm must have been hurting for his head to react like that.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)

And if all that wasn’t enough, Harden eventually fell over and landed on his rear end, and then remained there for several moments. Like, without any cushioning or anything underneath. Do you know how hard a basketball floor is? Really hard. Think about what that must have felt like. I hope his rump is okay.

(Via Comcast SportsNet)

Sure, he made the ensuing free throw and then hit a last-second layup to give Houston the one-point win, but he was obviously playing hurt.

Here’s the play, via Truth About It. Scary stuff. All you can do is shake your head, say a little prayer, and hope for the best.

Oh, and Phil Jackson? Not cool, man, not cool. We don’t make light of head injuries any more.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.



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Sarah Kogod · February 13, 2014

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