Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden is targeting a return to the court during the team's upcoming three-game road trip, with Monday's game against the Rockets serving as the likeliest date for his comeback, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. Harden has been out since Nov. 4 with a right foot tendon sprain.
Harden was one of the most durable players in the NBA when he played for the Rockets, but injuries have become a problem for him over the past few years. Notably, a hamstring injury effectively ruined his chance at winning the 2020 championship with the Nets, and that injury lingered into the 2021-22 season. Harden entered this season healthy, but suffered that sprain relatively early on.
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The 76ers started out the season struggling, but have quietly righted the ship in recent games despite injuries to Harden, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and Embiid has averaged over 36 points per game in the contests he's played in since Harden's injury.
The Harden-Embiid pick-and-roll was one of the deadliest plays in basketball last season, and Philadelphia spent the offseason fortifying its defense with players like P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and DeAnthony Melton. On paper, they looked like championship contenders entering the season. Things haven't played out that way thus far this season, but with Harden nearing a return, it won't be long before the 76ers have their entire roster available and ready to build some momentum.