Sources: Nets’ Harden could return Wednesday

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After missing five weeks with a hamstring injury, Brooklyn Nets star James Harden‘s return is expected to be a game-time decision against San Antonio on Wednesday night, sources told ESPN.

Harden is expected to gauge his readiness along with team officials ahead of the Nets’ return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, sources said.

Harden’s ramped up in recent practices with the goal of playing ahead of the start of next week’s Eastern Conference playoffs. Harden said that he hopes to play in “a couple games” before the playoffs begin. Brooklyn has three remaining games, including the Spurs.

The Nets’ three stars — Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — have played only seven games together this season.

Harden, who was traveling with the team on their five-game road trip that concluded Tuesday in Chicago, has been scrimmaging and has been responding well to the increased workload.

Harden has been out since an MRI revealed the hamstring strain on April 5, missing 18 consecutive games. After making progress on the injury, Harden suffered a setback in his rehab on April 19, which further delayed his return. As Harden worked his way back from that regression, the Nets have been cautious in increasing his on-court activities.

Harden is averaging 25.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 10.9 assists per game for the Nets.

On Tuesday, Durant had 21 points and eight assists, and the Nets outlasted the Bulls 115-107 despite Zach LaVine’s 41 points. Joe Harris added 17 points for Brooklyn.

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