James Harden‘s vision has improved and is expected to be completely clear for Game 3 of the Rockets‘ second-round playoff series against the Warriors on Saturday night, but the Houston guard continues to deal with pain after being accidentally hit in the face by Draymond Green.
“Nah, still tough,” Harden told reporters before Thursday’s practice when asked if the pain has gone away. “Especially in bright lights. But I can see y’all a little bit better, so that’s all that matters.”
Harden suffered contusions in both eyes and a laceration on the inside of his left eyelid when he was inadvertently hit in the face by Green a little more than five minutes into the Rockets’ Game 2 loss to the Warriors on Tuesday.
After the Rockets’ flight landed in Houston on Wednesday afternoon, Harden went straight to an eye doctor. Tests revealed no damage to Harden’s corneas, and he said the doctor told him “I would be good” for Game 3, meaning his vision would be clear.
Harden said after Game 2, which put the Rockets in a 2-0 hole in the Western Conference semifinal series, that he could “barely see.” He returned to the game in the second quarter, frequently squinting and shielding his eyes from the light on the court and during his postgame news conference. Harden said his vision in his left eye was especially blurry.
Harden’s issues with his vision were not evident in his performance. He finished with 29 points and had his highest field goal percentage of the postseason (9-of-19, 47.4 percent), despite missing his first three shots before suffering the injury.
Harden participated in the Rockets’ practice on Thursday and dismissed a question about his availability for Game 3.
“If I played barely seeing last game, what makes you think I’m going to sit out Game 3?” Harden said.