Three NBA stars in Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden, Portland Trailblazers' Damian Lillard and Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton are all looking to make the league a little more interesting with returns reported to occur before the end of next week. These are the details on those timelines.
James Harden reportedly planning to play Monday
James Harden has been sidelined 12 games for the Sixers due to a strained tendon in his right foot. Multiple Wednesday reports say that he is targeting a return on the team's current three-game road trip. According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Harden is confident he will be back for the team's Dec. 9 matchup with the Lakers.
Harden was averaging 22 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds in nine games before he suffered the injury against the Washington Wizards on Nov. 2. Still, the 76ers have seemed to manage in his absence, going 8-4 overall.
The team received more good news this week, as Joel Embiid made his return to the court after a four-game absence due to a mid-foot sprain.
Damian Lillard targeting Sunday return
The Portland Trailblazers have been without Damian Lillard for five games due to his second calf strain of the season. He suffered the injury in a loss to the Miami Heat where here was clearly in pain after landing from a jump shot.
According to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes, Lillard is targeting a Dec. 4 return. The news was reported Tuesday night as the team lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, an effort Lillard likely would have impacted.
The Trailblazers are now 1-4 without Lillard. The star is averaging 26.3 points and seven assists a game this season and will likely provided a need boost for Portland.
Khris Middleton looking to make season debut as soon as Friday
Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton hasn't played since the first round of the playoffs last season after he went down with an MCL sprain.
He underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist almost two months after Milwaukee's season ended in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
While the team initially projected that he would only miss the "first few weeks" of the season, he is now reported to be aiming to return for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Middleton finished last season averaging 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, shooting 37.3 percent from three-point range.
The Bucks (14-5) can afford to restrict his minutes in his return, as they sit at second place in the Eastern Conference.