Skip to main content

When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for James Harden at the deadline midway through the season, the star guard wasn't fully healthy. 

As a member of the Brooklyn Nets, Harden was amid a four-game absence leading up to the deadline due to hamstring tightness.

While many speculated that Harden's absence from Nets games was more of a form of holding out rather than recovering, it turned out that wasn't the case.

Harden wanted a trade to Philadelphia, and he got it. However, he didn't magically recover from his injury right away.

After the star guard participated in his first practice session, the Sixers announced Harden would not only miss Philly’s matchup against the Boston Celtics but would also miss a game against the Milwaukee Bucks before heading into the All-Star break.

In addition to missing four post-trade matchups with the Sixers, Harden also sat out from the 2022 NBA All-Star game as he continued to heal up. Finally, after a couple of weeks’ worth of recovering, Harden returned to the floor to debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves in late February.

Ever since making his Sixers debut, Harden has looked relatively healthy at times. But there have been games where it seemed his explosiveness on the court wasn’t the same. As many speculated that Harden’s hamstring could be bothering him, the star guard continued to brush off those beliefs. 

And as Harden and the Sixers gear up for their first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Harden offered a positive update on his health ahead of Game 1, which is set to take place on Saturday night in South Philly. 

"It’s good,” Harden explained. “I’ve been doing some sprints and some hamstring work this week, so it’s a really good week for me to prepare for this first round. A lot of sprints. A lot of weight room. A lot of work which is great. We need it.”

When asked if he ever feels his hamstring nagging him on the court, Harden indicated that's not something that's happened lately. While a week off from games has been beneficial for Harden to continue learning how to play in the Sixers' system, it's also been great for his physical health.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.