Sixers’ Star James Harden Breaks Silence On Injury Timeline

James Harden, Sixers

Getty Joel Embiid #21 (L) of the Philadelphia 76ers talks to James Harden #1 on the bench against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at the Wells Fargo Center on April 10, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It has been since November 2nd since James Harden stepped on the basketball court. The Philadelphia 76ers’ star guard suffered a right foot tendon sprain during the 121-111 loss to the Washinton Wizards which feels like ages ago. While he battled through the pain and finished the matchup, Harden has been out for an extended period of time and was seen in a walking boot shortly following the injury. The superstar also spent time away from the team to deal with a personal issue, but returned to the team and looks to be on his way back to the court.

During Thursday’s practice, Harden took the court with his teammates and participated in practice in a limited capacity for the first time. He got some treadmill work in to keep up with his fitness and also put up some shots with assistant coach Sam Cassell following the practice.

Harden’s Thoughts On Injury Return

Harden also spoke with the media after practice to give some clarity on his potential return. He indicated his recovery is still on track for the month-long absence that was initially set for him. He was asked how he felt and stated, “I feel good. On pace. Starting to slowly ramp it up a little bit. I’ve been running on a treadmill with some resistance and things like that. I’ve been doing some pool workouts. We got to plan. We got a script that we’re trying to stick to. All in all, I feel good,” per Ky Carlin of SixersWire.

Harden was also asked about his thoughts on what happened when the injury first occurred. He revealed his thought process and stated, “I didn’t know what happened. I just fell and then I felt my foot tingling. I’m like ‘What the hell is this?’ So I checked out of the game and as soon I got to the bench, I took my shoe off and I’m like, ‘What the hell is this?’ So I went to the back and they kind of tape me up and I come back and I played and after, I just knew it wasn’t right. So it is what it is. Another little hurdle to jump over and get my mind right and get ready to go hoop.”

Harden’s Injury Outlook Moving Forward

In addition to the foot injury, Harden’s battles with lingering hamstring issues were also a notable storyline leading up to the season. This has been acknowledged as the root of the issue for the 33-year-old not looking entirely like himself last season as he did not possess the necessary separation ability or burst.

Harden squashed some early concerns to start the year by looking much more like his MVP self. While some will be concerned his level of fitness might slip up due to the time off, the fact Harden flashed improvement in this area should be taken as a positive.

Throughout his career, Harden has been a model of durability. Of the 12 years he has been in the NBA leading up to this year, he has played 70 or more games in nine of these seasons. He also led the league in minutes during the 2015-16 season with the Rockets where he played all 82 games. Even during his brief tenure in Brooklyn, despite the hamstring issues, he proved to be the most reliable of the trio with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

While the Sixers will hope to have the star guard back on the court as soon as possible, ensuring he is 100% healthy must be the priority. Joel Embiid has taken his game to new levels in Harden’s new absence out of necessity to keep the team afloat. Adding Harden back to the lineup will make life easier for the big man and the two will need to continue to build up their chemistry for the team to reach its peak. You never want to see a player injured but on the bright side, there is still a large portion of the season left for Harden to return and find his stride within the team.

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