Brooklyn Nets star James Harden is set to return from a lengthy absence against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. As long as there’s no setback in pregame warmups, Harden will give it a go.
Harden hasn’t played since April 5 after he exited a game agains the New York Knicks with a hamstring injury. The Nets star then suffered a setback in his rehab, resulting in him delaying his return until now.
Brooklyn hasn’t been nearly as dominant without Harden, who was playing at an MVP level with the club after coming over from the Houston Rockets in an early-season trade. Just look at the difference with him and without him:
The Beard is back tonight.
The Nets are 27-7 with him since the trade.
11-11 without. pic.twitter.com/eg2qGsgzn4
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 12, 2021
The Nets wanted to get James Harden in the regular season so he could get some reps before playoffs. Brooklyn’s Big Three of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have only played seven games together thus far.
Irving suffered a facial injury against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night, but it’s not believed to be serious. Still, it’s unclear if he’s going to play against the Spurs, so it might be another game without their Big Three full intact.
Regardless, the hope now is all three superstars will be good to go for the playoffs. As long as they’re healthy, the Nets are the clear favorite in the Eastern Conference and potentially in the entire NBA. Brooklyn is still chasing the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 1 seed in the East.