Aldridge set for Nets debut; Harden ruled out


NEW YORK — All-Star Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden has been ruled out of Thursday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets with hamstring tightness, while the team’s newest acquisition — center LaMarcus Aldridge — is available to make his debut in Brooklyn.

Harden exited early from Wednesday’s 120-108 win over the Houston Rockets. Afterward, coach Steve Nash said that Harden, who missed the entire fourth quarter, would be reevaluated Thursday morning. Nash said he did not believe the injury would hold Harden out long term.

Meanwhile, Aldridge is available for the first time since agreeing to sign with Brooklyn on Saturday. Nash said Aldridge would have a short ramp-up period so the team could assess his fitness and integrate him safely into the lineup.

It will be the first time Aldridge has played since early March, when the San Antonio Spurs announced that the center would be sidelined while they worked to find another team for him.

Aldridge said he feels he can bring rim protection and help space the floor with his 3-point shooting in Brooklyn, adding that he hopes to earn the starting center position.

The addition of Aldridge should aid the already short-handed Nets. Brooklyn will be without Blake Griffin — who is sitting out the second night of the Nets’ back-to-back for injury maintenance — and Kevin Durant, who is still rehabbing a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since mid-February.

Landry Shamet is also available Thursday after missing the past week and a half with an ankle sprain.

The Nets hope to have a full, healthy roster in the coming weeks that allows them enough time to build on-court chemistry before the playoffs. The Nets’ Big Three of Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving have played only three games together this season, and Durant was already injured when the team made its additions from the buyout market.

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