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Jeff Green, James Harden out but ‘progressing nicely’; both travel to Milwaukee

2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Jeff Green spoke to the media for the first time since suffering the left plantar fascia strain, that’s kept him out of the last five postseason games. Before the Nets veteran spoke to the media, Steve Nash confirmed that the Nets will be without Green for the sixth straight game, but is inching closer to a return.

“Jeff is out tomorrow but is progressing nicely. We hope he’s back if not Game 4 or Game 5, but he’s definitely on the right track and I think highly possible that he plays sooner rather than later,” said Nash on Green during Wednesday’s practice.

Green — who also said he is progressing well and feeling good — said the rehabilitation process has been a slow one but is hopeful he can play in Game 4 or Game 5 (if needed).

“It’s been a slow process but I’m getting better day by day and hopefully Game 4 or after that. We got to see how it feels in the next couple of days to get back out there on the court,” Green said.

Although Green hasn’t been cleared to begin practicing, he’s able to run. Outside of running, the performance team is working with the veteran on his certain movements such as cutting and just getting comfortable with the way he plays.

“I’m able to run. I got to get used to playing in the certain movements as far as cutting and the way I play, so that comes with repetition and getting comfortable with the weight and the amount of force going through the foot,” said Green on the stage he’s at in his rehab. “That where I’m at, but it’s going well.”

The Nets veteran admitted that he has been playing with the injury throughout the season, but reaggravated the strain more than normal. Green said the injury occurred in Game 2 against the Celtics when he went up for a dunk thrown by Harden and came down awkwardly, resulting in the strain.

“It happened in Game 2 obviously when I went up for a dunk. The one that James threw me and kind of came down in an awkward position and strained it,” said Green recalling when the injury occurred. “It’s manageable. We got a great PT team here doing everything possible to try to help this thing recover and get back out there and do whatever I can.”

2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

When asked to describe how a plantar fascia strain feels, Green compared it to having a badly sprained ankle on the bottom of your foot. While that sounds discomforting, the ability to explode and plant is limited and is the focus of his rehab.

“You can’t put a lot of pressure in the way I play. Being able to walk obviously but it’s a little discomfort when I walk. The pressure with the shoe, the cutting, and everything. It’s almost like having a really, really bad sprained ankle but on the bottom of your foot,” said Green on his injury. “The whole planting and explosion is something that comes with it. It’s been hard to be me early on when I first did it but I’ve played through it during the year. On that one play, it kind of strained a little bit more than normal.”

While Green is inching closer to his return, Nash ruled out James Harden — who is dealing with right hamstring tightness — for Game 3. The Nets head coach said, like Green, Harden is progressing nicely and expects to have him back at some point in the postseason.

“James will miss Game 3 but he is progressing nicely as well. We’re optimistic that we can have him back at some point but we can’t set a timeline yet,” Nash said.

The Nets head coach said that both Green and Harden will be traveling with the team to Milwaukee for Game 3, indicating both players will be doing their respective rehabs on the road.