Proper stretching is not an issue, either. Harden does rotational exercises for his torso and plenty of work to maintain flexibility, and he also does active-release techniques and deep tissue massage to keep loose. He's extremely flexible, in fact, putting the back of his hands on the floor to demonstrate. He conducts much of his winter work with Canadian sprinters who are Olympic hopefuls, and his sessions are monitored by personal trainers.
So Harden is as baffled as anyone why he has spent more than three months on the DL in the past year. He is so fed up, his usually sunny disposition has been much less in evidence.
"I've never had problems my entire career," he said. "I just have to try to figure something out. If this were hockey, I'd throw my skates on and go, but these (injuries) are so specific to pitching, I can't do that. And there's nothing worse than not being able to play. You don't feel like part of the team when you can't help out. I mean, this is my job. I want to go out there.
"I don't want to be known as that guy who's always hurt. I don't believe I am. People try to come up with theories -- me, too. But it's not me, my body is not just going to break down. So it's just really bad luck."
Working out with Canadian sprinters. Hmmmm. In our culture of suspicion, that's almost as bad as eating French fries.