Nets’ James Harden says he’s ‘definitely back’ to the player he was

MINNEAPOLIS — Is the Beard back?

Maybe James Harden was sparked by the defense Friday night, or perhaps he was just unusually springy at San Antonio. But he says it’s something bigger.

The Nets star claims his long road back from a June hamstring injury is behind him, and an extended run of prime Harden is ahead of him.

“Yeah, I’m definitely back,” Harden said. “It’s just throughout the course of the year we had so much going on [with] our team. A lot of injuries and whatnot, and obviously the situation with Kyrie [Irving], so it’s really difficult to get a rhythm like we all want to.

“But we just got to continue to fight, continue to take one game at a time and push through it. Eventually this thing is going to come together where we’re all together and we all make a really, really huge run at this thing. But as of now we just continue to grow, young guys continue to get better, continue to teach and build every single game.”

Short of Irving getting vaccinated — and thus becoming eligible to play home games — the Nets couldn’t have gotten a much better building block. The sight of Harden looking physically explosive bodes well, starting Sunday against the Timberwolves.

James HardenNBAE via Getty Images

After posting a terrible minus-26 in his prior two games, at Cleveland and Washington, and a minus-29 in his prior 11,…

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