NBA Teams
Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer 59d

Rockets' James Harden (neck) will play vs. Hawks

NBA, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets star James Harden, who was originally listed as probable with a cervical strain for Monday's matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, will play, according to coach Mike D'Antoni.

"James is good. He's ready to go," D'Antoni said nearly two hours before the game was to tip off in Houston.

Harden wasn't so sure about his availability at this morning's shootaround, but he did leave the door open to playing.

"It's my first time touching a basketball in a few days," Harden said. "So we'll see."

The reigning MVP, Harden has scored at least 30 points in 32 consecutive games, matching the second-longest such streak in NBA history, behind Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 30 or more points in 65 consecutive outings.

Harden sat out Houston's 118-112 road win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday as he worked to recover from the neck injury and had flu-like symptoms.

Harden also worked through a left shoulder strain leading into the All-Star break, but he wasn't forced to miss any games. Harden sat out of three other games due to a hamstring strain suffered in late October.

Harden said he suffered the neck injury on Wednesday during a practice session when he ran into a teammate coming off a screen.

"I feel better," Harden said. "Every day, it's gotten better. I wasn't able to really move my neck. So it affected me, not in just basketball, but day-to-day life walking around. It's tough to just hold your head up. Even when you sleep, it's kind of a lose-lose situation. If you're up, you can't really move your neck. And if you sleep, you can't sleep the wrong way. So I've just been trying to sleep and try to hopefully knock the pain off. Hopefully the pain goes away. I've been getting treatment nonstop."

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