James Harden hopes to be back vs. Spurs
With all the injuries the Rockets have suffered this season, it’s a holiday miracle they had enough bodies with which to hold a productive practice.
But the team had 9-10 players available for what Kevin McHale called a “mini-shootaround” on Tuesday morning before flying to San Antonio at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
McHale said James Harden, who sprained his ankle against Sacramento on Dec. 15 and has missed the past two games, looked like he as moving OK at practice. Although it’s a gametime decision, Harden hopes to be back for Houston’s Christmas Day game against the Spurs.
“It’s getting better,” Harden said. “The swelling is going down day-to-day, the pain is definitely limiting so we’ll see tomorrow. I went through a pretty good workout today. I’m not really in any pain so hopefully we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
The news isn’t as promising for center Omer Asik (thigh/knee) and forward Greg Smith (knee).
“I would be shocked if Omer plays anytime too soon,” McHale said. “I don’t think Greg Smith is going to play, either.”
After missing four games, Jeremy Lin returned on Monday night against the Mavericks and started in place of Pat Beverley who is expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks with a broken right hand.
“I felt alright, the second half a little bit better than the first,” said Lin after Monday’s game. “I definitely can't complain in terms of how my body felt in my first game back.”
“It’s hard to take as much as he’s had to take off between the few injuries he’s had (knee and back),” McHale said. “It takes a little while to find rhythm, but unfortunately we don’t have time for those guys to catch their rhythm. We have a lot of practice time and we’re just going to have to go out there and play the best we can.”