Nets’ James Harden making return for Game 5 vs. Bucks

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In a surprising development, injured Nets guard James Harden was active Tuesday for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the team announced.

Harden, initially ruled out Monday, suffered a right hamstring injury 43 seconds into Game 1 against the Bucks on June 5.

There were doubts Harden would be able to return the series for the Nets, who were already without Kyrie Irving on Tuesday after he suffered a right ankle sprain in Sunday’s Game 4 loss to the Bucks.

James Harden active for Nets-Bucks game 5.
James Harden active for Nets-Bucks game 5.
Corey Sipkin

But following the morning workout, Harden was upgraded from out to doubtful, and then questionable, before suiting up.

Harden’s return is critical for the Nets, who have built their team around their so-called Big 3, including Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant.

The second-round series is tied at two games apiece.

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