The fortnight has passed since the Rockets announced they would wait two weeks to reevaluate the hamstring Harden strained late in a double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year’s Eve, and he’s been cleared to play, pending a setback at Wednesday’s practice, MacMahon reported.
Harden is still officially listed as questionable on Houston’s injury report, but the Rockets hinted at his return on Twitter shortly before news broke of his scheduled return against the Timberwolves.
The news comes at a crucial time for the Rockets, who may soon be without Trevor Ariza and Chris Paul, depending upon the outcome of the league’s investigation into a postgame incident in which several Rockets reportedly entered the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room looking for a confrontation.
Of course, Harden may face disciplinary measures, too:
Sources: As details emerge on aftermath Rockets-Clippers game, Trevor Ariza remains described as most aggressive and determined to get into opposing locker room — with Chris Paul and James Harden viewed as trying to slow down Ariza. NBA investigation will continue into Wednesday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2018
Regardless of whether or not Harden returns Thursday or later this week, he will be a welcome sight to a Rockets team that was extraordinary with him and a moderate 4-3 without him this season. He creates more points than anyone, scoring a league-leading 32.3 points per game and adding 9.1 assists a night. And he was the NBA’s leading MVP candidate when he suffered the Grade 2 hamstring strain.
Following their game against the Wolves on Thursday, the second-place Rockets will host the West-leading Golden State Warriors for the league’s first Saturday night primetime game of the season.
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