Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden returned to practice on Wednesday after a 10-day absence for personal reasons. However, Harden was stopped from traveling with the team to Milwaukee for their season opener against the Bucks on Thursday.
According to league sources, Harden was told by team officials that it would be beneficial for him to remain in Philadelphia to continue the ramp-up process. Harden had returned with the intention of reacclimating himself with the team, but the Sixers wanted him to stay back and focus on his conditioning.
Harden initially interpreted staying back as a suggestion, and he participated in portions of practice with the intention of joining the team on the flight to Milwaukee. However, after practice, Harden was stopped by a security official at the airport and notified that he was not permitted to accompany the team.
General manager Elton Brand and head coach Nick Nurse spoke to Harden to explain that the organization prefers he accepts and follows their workout plan, which includes staying at the practice facility while the team is away.
The workout program includes monitoring Harden’s measurables and speed with their tracking system, which is located at the facility. The Sixers’ two-way players would also be staying back in Philadelphia with Harden, as well as a trainer with whom he regularly works.
Harden was reportedly frustrated by the situation, but he departed the airport without further incident.
It remains to be seen when Harden will make his season debut for the 76ers. However, it is clear that the team is taking a cautious approach with his conditioning.
Source: Bleacher Report