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James Harden officially active for Sixers-Rockets on Monday

After 4.5 weeks off, the star guard is back in the lineup.

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

After missing the last 14 games, James Harden will play in Monday’s contest between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Harden last appeared on Nov. 2, a 121-111 loss against the Washington Wizards, when he suffered a tendon strain in his right foot. Philadelphia went 8-6 without him, though has lost its last two outings.

During his first nine games of the season, the 10-time All-Star averaged 22 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and 1.1 steals on 59.1 percent true shooting. In his place, De’Anthony Melton entered the starting lineup. With Tyrese Maxey still sidelined, Melton will presumably hold his starting spot for the time being, while Shake Milton will slide back into a reserve role.

Harden’s return should invigorate a struggling offense. During his 14-game absence, the Sixers ranked 28th in offensive rating, per Cleaning The Glass. Some of that has coincided with Maxey’s injury, but it’s clear they miss the veteran star’s blend of off-the-dribble scoring and playmaking.

Philadelphia and Houston are set to tip off at 8 p.m. EST inside Toyota Center.

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