Houston Rockets James Harden Injury Discussion

Sunday Night’s match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers did not end well for Houston Rockets’ James Harden. While the team beat the Lakers, James Harden left the game early with a hamstring injury. Which has been confirmed to be a Grade 2 Hamstring strain.

It’s already been reported he will be out for two weeks before he will be reevaluated. Hamstring strains, actually any sort of muscular strain, can be a challenge to effectively treat, especially in season.

He’ll never get full time off because he has the rest of the regular season and a potentially deep post-season playoff run. And I personally believe the best sort of recovery is active recovery. That doesn’t mean he’s in the weight room the next day working out to strengthen the hamstring, but he won’t just being using “RICE” to recover.

Anatomy Review:

There are 3 different hamstring muscles: semitendinosis, semimembranosis, and biceps femoris (which has a short head and long head). The biceps femoris portion of the hamstrings is the lateral muscle while the semitendinosis and semimembranosis are the medial heads.

The hamstring has two primary functions: hip extension and knee flexion. If James Harden injured his leg when he went for the lay-up thus a hip extension injury. If James Harden injured his leg when he was landing on his leg after the lay-up moreso a knee flexion injury.

What I Could do?
Manual muscle work, active and passive stretching (PNF), and progression strength exercises. We will work on all four hamstring muscles and his hip adductor muscles. He’s not going to be doing seated leg curls or lying leg curls, because those are not effective for the demands of his sport.

And then we’ll take him through a variety of strengthening and stability exercises and more active stretches compared to the more traditional static stretching. Some of the more common hamstring work I use are:

Supine Active Hamstring Stretch:


Single Leg Deadlifts:

I think there’s always a progression you have to work with. And I don’t jump athletes from bridges straight to single leg deadlifts. That would be irresponsible of me. Progressions for athletes take time and are never the same for each one. Each injury is a case by base basis.

My Take:

It’s not known to the public, but it hasn’t been said which hamstring muscle was injured nor where the injury occurred. If the injury occurred at one of the attachment sites (less likely), it will take a bit longer to heal compared to the muscle belly.

As I have mentioned before, muscular strains are a challenge to treat. Now that the initially injury as occurred, there is a chance he can reaggravate his hamstring again. While reevaluation in two weeks is great, I think he may end up being out longer than expected.

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