Report: Rockets' James Harden expected to return against Timberwolves

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/hou/" data-ylk="slk:Houston Rockets">Houston Rockets</a> guard James Harden has missed seven games with a hamstring strain. (AP)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden has missed seven games with a hamstring strain. (AP)

Houston Rockets star James Harden is expected to return against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. He missed the past seven games with a right hamstring strain.

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.

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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:

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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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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