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James Harden 'very confident' he'll be healthy for Nets playoff run

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Updates on James Harden's health have been sparse since he suffered a hamstring strain in early April. 

The Brooklyn Nets All-Star spoke with reporters on Thursday for the first time since the injury sidelined him 15 games ago. He's been working on conditioning drills and feels "very confident" that he'll be back for the playoffs. 

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"Very confident," Harden said when asked if he'd be healthy by the postseason. "I guess the mark that I have to hit is the work that I did today. I have a couple of those without any feeling. That's pretty much the mark. 

"But I'm very confident I'll be back before postseason."

Harden feels 'really good' after drills

Harden has also been working on changing speed and direction, noting that he feels "really good" after drills.

When available, Harden has played at an MVP level since joining the Nets in an early-season trade, averaging 25.4 points, 11 assists and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 46.7% from the field and 36.1% from 3-point distance. But like his All-Star teammates Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, he's struggled to stay on the floor. 

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden warms up before the start of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Friday, April 16, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
James Harden is confident he'll be ready for the playoffs. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Will Brooklyn's big 3 be ready for playoffs?

Injuries to Brooklyn's stars have been staggered for most of the season, with Irving and Durant leading the Nets charge during Harden's extended absence. The Nets have thrived despite the injuries and sit two games behind the first-place Philadelphia 76ers at 43-23. They hold a one-game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for second place in the East.

Since the Nets acquired Harden in January, Durant, Harden and Irving have played together in just seven games thanks to various injuries. If Durant and Irving remain healthy and Harden meets his timeline, the Nets will be able to feature their big three just in time for the postseason. 

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