Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, who has been out for more than a month with a hamstring strain, says he is “very confident” that he will return before the playoffs begin.
“The plan is to get a chance to play a couple of games before the postseason,” Harden said Thursday. “We are taking one day at a time.”
The Nets have six games left, including Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, in the regular season before the playoffs begin on May 22. Harden, who was ruled out against the Mavericks, is traveling with the team and the former MVP did not rule out the possibility that he could return to play on the team’s current tour. The Nets play in Denver on Saturday and Chicago on Tuesday.
Before he can play a game again, Harden said he needs to do a few more workouts without feeling any pain or discomfort. Harden said he is working to regain his physical condition, and to be able to change speed and direction on the court.
“So far so good,” Harden said. “Today [jueves] it was really good, and we have to keep building on that. “
Harden last played April 5 against the New York Knicks. Before that, he missed two games because of what the team called hamstring strain. After playing four minutes against the Knicks, Harden left the game and had an MRI scan that revealed the injury.
Harden said he felt he was close to making a comeback before experiencing a setback in his training on April 21.
“We wanted to be patient,” Harden said. “As much as I like to play, you have to be smart. And for me, it was about, ‘We’re going to heal, we’re going to make this healthy so we can make a push into the playoffs.’
Harden continued: “At this point in my career, playing in the postseason basically since I’ve been in Houston, I’ve played a lot of minutes, just carrying the load. And this was an opportunity to keep my body on track for the postseason with my mind and mind. healthy body. You have to win 16 games. That’s the ultimate goal. That’s why I came to Brooklyn. “
Coach Steve Nash previously said he wasn’t sure if Harden would be healthy enough to play before the first round. The Nets currently rank second in the East, behind the Philadelphia 76ers by two games.
Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have played in just seven games together this season, but Harden said his prolonged absence – the most time he has missed due to injury in his career – hasn’t changed his confidence in the possibilities. of the Nets to win a championship.
“One of the things that a lot of teams don’t have is talent,” Harden said. “We don’t have to worry about that aspect. In terms of skills, we are elite.”
As long as the Nets are healthy, Harden said he believes this is a team that can win it all.
“Our mindset is, if we can get into this postseason healthy, we’ll be there in contention,” Harden said. “We have a chance.”