Rockets’ Harden could return Thursday

Houston Rockets superstar guard James Harden has been out since Dec. 31 because of a Grade 2 left hamstring strain but could return to the lineup this week.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters Sunday that Harden could play as soon as Thursday against the Minnesota Timberwolves or Saturday versus the Golden State Warriors.

On the season, Harden is averaging 32.3 points and 9.1 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from 3.