Harden 'very confident' he'll return from injury before playoffs
In his first time addressing the media since a setback in his recovery from a hamstring strain last month, James Harden said he is "very confident" he will return to the Brooklyn Nets' lineup before the playoffs, according to ESPN's Malika Andrews.
The final game of the Nets' regular season is a home tilt versus the Cleveland Cavaliers set for Sunday, May 16.
Harden has been sidelined since initially sustaining the injury against his former team, the Houston Rockets, on March 31. The Nets then announced the former league MVP had suffered a setback during an on-court rehab session on April 20.
After a slow start to the season with Houston, Harden bounced back to his previous superstar form upon his trade to Brooklyn in January. In 34 appearances with his new team, the 31-year-old averaged 25.4 points, 11 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game.
At times, Harden has shouldered the Nets' offense while star teammates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been in and out of the lineup themselves due to injuries or personal reasons. To date, the trio of perennial All-Stars have still only logged seven appearances alongside each other.
Still, Harden doesn't see the Nets' lack of on-court continuity as a major issue moving forward.
At 43-23 (.652) and with just six regular-season games left on the schedule, the Nets still have some time to make up the two-game gap with the conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers.