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Sixers star James Harden is expected to miss a month after suffering a right foot tendon strain

Harden could miss up 14 games, including marquee matchups against the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, and more.

James Harden of the Sixers hits the court under Washington's Kristaps Porzingis during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
James Harden of the Sixers hits the court under Washington's Kristaps Porzingis during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.Read moreSteven M. Falk / Staff Photographer

James Harden, the 76ers’ perennial All-Star point guard, is expected to miss a month with a tendon strain in his right foot, a league source confirmed. Harden’s injury was revealed Thursday.

The Sixers acknowledged the injury Thursday evening and said Harden will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.

Harden took a hard fall early in a 121-111 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center. He remained on the court for a couple of minutes until a timeout was called. The 33-year-old then got up and reached down to stretch and grab at his knee.

» READ MORE: Doc Rivers believes NBA officials should show Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey more respect: ‘That has to get called’

Harden remained in the game but was in noticeable pain. He went to the locker room to be examined in the fourth quarter but returned to the game. After producing 24 points and 10 assists in 35 minutes, Harden had a noticeable limp in the locker room and declined to speak to the media. He is averaging 22 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds so far this season.

Harden’s injury comes on the heels of All-Star center Joel Embiid missing three of the last four games. Embiid missed Friday’s victory over the Toronto Raptors to rest his right knee and sat out the last two with the flu.

Meanwhile, guard De’Anthony Melton missed Wednesday’s game with lower-back stiffness and swingman Matisse Thybulle suffered a game-ending right ankle sprain in the third quarter.

Thybulle and Embiid are both listed as questionable when the Sixers entertain the Knicks on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. However, Embiid returned to the Sixers’ practice facility Thursday for a workout. That’s good news considering he had been away from the team after contracting the flu.

Unfortunately for the Sixers, dealing with serious injuries to key players is nothing new. They’ve had a Who’s Who of standouts, including Embiid on several occasions, miss substantial time because of injuries.

Harden’s injury cuts deeper because he worked hard this summer to get his body closer to the shape he maintained as a three-time scoring champion with the Houston Rockets. Harden, who is listed as a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder, reported to training camp noticeably smaller than last season.

His offseason dedication worked initially, as he regained some of the explosiveness that was absent last season. Now, Harden’s absence will serve as another setback for a Sixers team that has had an up-and-down start to the season.

After acquiring Harden at last season’s trade deadline, the Sixers entered 2022-23 as a preseason favorite to reach the NBA Finals. However, they started the season with three straight losses to the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and San Antonio Spurs.

The Sixers appeared to turn things around with three straight road victories against the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Wizards before losing to Washington on Wednesday.

Doc Rivers’ team is in eighth place in the East. And with Harden out, the Sixers have major holes to fill.

» READ MORE: Sixers-Wizards takeaways: A big center to back up Joel Embiid is much needed, along with consistent physicality

Now, they must rely heavily on Embiid, standout third-year guard Tyrese Maxey, and power forward Tobias Harris to do so until Harden returns.

Melton is the Sixers’ backup point guard and has started alongside Harden and Maxey. Shake Milton is another ballhandling option for the Sixers. Philly could also use its available roster spot to add a backup point guard.

Harden could miss 14 games, assuming he returns in time for the Sixers’ Dec. 2 game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. Among those matchups will be tough games against the Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, and Cleveland Cavaliers.