Houston Rockets All-Star guard James Harden remains hopeful he will take part in the game on Sunday at Toyota Center, but his sprained right ankle remains an issue and he will not jeopardize his role with the Rockets just to play.
"Oh yea, it's very important," Harden said on Thursday. "I represent the Rockets. It's my first All-Star game. It's definitely important to me, but my ankle is the most important thing. We still have 27 more games left. I've got to make sure that's right for my teammates.
"The season is definitely more important. Us making the playoffs is more important. I'll ice it and get treatment on it and hopefully I'll be ready to go Sunday."
Harden rolled his right ankle during the win on Tuesday in Golden State, but was able to return to action.
He tried to play Wednesday night, but decided against it after working out before the game.
However, Harden said his sore ankle is headed in the right direction.
"The swelling has definitely gone all the way down," Harden said. "I can walk normal again. It's just a matter of me cutting and making plants and really using it with force.
"Today's Thursday, so I still got some time to ice it and rehab and do what I need to do."
Harden, who is also scheduled to take part in the Shooting Stars 2013 Competition as part of All-Star Saturday, met with the media while make an appearance on behalf of NBA Cares at Franklin Elementary School in East Houston.
The event's sponsor, BBVA Compass, donated 500 books and 30 I-pads to the school
Harden was not able to get much sleep after arriving in the early hours of the morning from Los Angeles, but he still made the appearance at the school.
"Most important thing, maybe of the whole weekend, just to be here with the kids, encourage them to read and want to be in school, want to be successful," Harden said. "Sleep doesn't matter when I'm here."
Harden can only imagine what it would have meant to have had the chance to meet an NBA player like himself when he was that age.
"Oh my God, I would have been a straight A-plus student," Harden said.