James Harden is battling flu-like symptoms but is expected to play in Game 5. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said he expects All-Star guard James Harden to suit-up Wednesday night for Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder despite battling flu-like symptoms. Harden left the team-shootaround on Wednesday but McHale said he is sure Harden will be "ready to go," according to a report from Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press.
Teammate Chandler Parsons, who nearly had a triple double in a Game 4 win against the Thunder on April 29, said he is confident Harden will be there for the tip-off against his former team and doubts "some little flu bug" will keep him from competing when the team faces a 4-1 elimination.
''We're confident coming in here. Obviously, we need James and we want James to play for us to win at a high level. No doubt in my mind, he's going to play tonight. There's no way some little flu bug is going to keep him from playing in an elimination game.''
One of Harden's other teammates, guard Patrick Beverly, said Harden will have to push through it and play like a leader:
''James, he's a tough player, a very good friend of mine. He's going to be fine. He's going to push through it like he's supposed to, like a leader does.''
McHale also said the team will likely be without point guard Jeremy Lin, who is dealing with a bruised chest suffered during Game 2 of the series.