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James Harden (hamstring) says he plans to play again before playoffs

Brooklyn's star guard is planning to get in some game action before the playoffs start on May 22.

James Harden has been out of the Nets’ lineup since April 5.

The Brooklyn Nets have been without All-Star guard James Harden since early April, but he is planning to get back on the court before too long.

In what was likely the best news Nets fans have heard in a while, Harden told reporters Thursday he is “very confident” he will be back playing before the 2020-21 regular season ends. His plan is to get in a couple of games before the 2021 playoffs begin on May 22.

Harden has been working his way back from a hamstring injury that he initially suffered on March 31 and has been dealing with since. He told reporters he feels “really good” and is working on his conditioning as well as his change of speed and direction.

Harden has not played since April 5, when he logged 4 minutes, 22 seconds before leaving the game because of his hamstring injury.

The Nets are 43-23 and No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Philadelphia 76ers by two games. After tonight’s game in Dallas (7:30 ET, TNT), the Nets visit the Denver Nuggets on Saturday and Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. From there, the Nets close out the season with three straight home games: the San Antonio Spurs (May 12), the Bulls (May 15) and Cleveland Cavaliers (May 16).

Brooklyn has gone 8-7 during Harden’s absence and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. The nine-time All-Star averaged 25.4 points, 11.0 assists and 8.7 rebounds over his first 34 games with Brooklyn.

On April 20, the Nets announced that Harden was out indefinitely because of his injury.

“We’re back to square one,” coach Steve Nash said then. “He will be back when he’s back. It might be the playoffs. It might be sooner.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.