Two days after suffering a concussion caused by Lakers forward Metta World Peace striking him with an elbow, Oklahoma City guard James Harden sent out a tweet that suggested he’s made progress since last being seen lying motionless on the court.
“Im solid,” Harden tweeted Tuesday morning. “Feeling good. Appreciate y’all for checking on me!!”
Harden didn’t return to the game after World Peace struck him with his left elbow with 1:37 remaining in the second quarter. The Oklahoman’s John Rohde also reported that Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said Harden “did a few things but not everything” during Tuesday’s morning shootaround. Still, Brooks doesn’t expect Harden to play Tuesday night against Sacramento.
The NBA adopted a policy this past December that requires players to remain symptom-free for 24 hours and to successfully complete a series of tests. Those include neurological, bike, treadmill, conditioning and basketball exams, and an independent neurologist has to clear them before playing. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant managed to clear those exams three days after suffering a broken nose and concussion stemming from Dwyane Wade’s hard foul on him in the 2012NBA All-Star Game.
The NBA rulebook suggests that Harden’s health will partly determine the severity of World Peace’s punishment. The former Ron Artest, who will automatically serve a one-game suspension for getting a type 2 flagrant foul, will be measured by many variables. They include the severity of the contact, whether it was a basketball play, if the player followed through on contact, the potential for injury and the aftermath following the incident.
None of these variables helps World Peace. The foul came after a dunk. World Peace cocked his arm back and extended his elbow in an area above the shoulder. The contact sent Harden to the ground and gave him a concussion. World Peace then retreated in a boxer’s stance ready to defend himself when Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka charged toward him.
World Peace has made leaps in maturing, including seeking therapy, raising money for mental health charities and openly talking about his issues. But the heavy cloud surrounding his 73-game suspension for his role in the Palace Brawl eight years ago still haunts him. He also earned a one-game suspension in last year’s playoffs for clotheslining Dallas guardJ.J. Barea.
Still, the more pressing news involves Harden’s health. And it appears he’s at least making the first step toward recovery.