Harden to return for the Rockets against the Timberwolves

(Getty Images)

James Harden will make his return from a hamstring injury on Thursday when the Houston Rockets take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The five-time All-Star has been sidelined for a little over two weeks with the muscle problem, but coach Mike D'Antoni announced Harden will start when they host the Timberwolves at the Toyota Center.

Harden, averaging 23.3 points, 9.1 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game this season, scored 40 points with 11 assists in his last game — a 148-142 win over the Lakers on New Year's Eve.

The Rockets are 4-3 in Harden's absence, and they will be without Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green against Minnesota after the NBA suspended them two games for entering the Los Angeles Clippers' locker room after Monday night's game.

Harden is expected to be on a 20-25-minute limit on Thursday. The Rockets then play the Golden State Warriors on Saturday in a match between the best two teams in the Western Conference.