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James Harden should return to the court ‘anytime next week’

The Houston Rockets have been without James Harden since he suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain the last time they played the Los Angeles Lakers.

But on Wednesday, it was announced that the Rockets will get their most dynamic player and MVP candidate back very soon. per Kelly Iko of ESPN Houston.

With this development, the Rockets are about to get very scary.

Harden hurt himself on Dec. 31 in a win over the Lakers, and has been out since. The Rockets lost three straight games after that, most recently winning against the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

Clearly Houston has missed Harden, who practically runs the entire offense despite Chris Paul now being back from injury and playing important minutes. But Harden makes the Rockets much more dangerous simply because he is dangerous in every which way on the floor, and he provides the type of scoring that Paul can’t.

Before Harden went out, the Rockets had one of the best records in the NBA, and Harden was getting significant buzz as the sure winner of the MVP award this year. Now that he’s missed some time, that case has weakened a bit, but he can very easily get back into the conversation with strong play once he returns.

Harden is averaging 32.3 points, 9.1 assists and five rebounds per game this season, per Basketball Reference. His player efficiency rating is also 30.4, which is incredibly high and usually touted by superstar players.

It’s difficult to see for what game next week Harden will return, but the fact that’s only one week means the Rockets will soon be at full strength. And that’s a problem for the league.