James Harden joins 76ers training camp after 2-day absence

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- For one day, at least, there was no drama surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers.

After skipping both the media day on Monday in Camden, New Jersey, and the opening practice of training camp at Colorado State University on Tuesday, 76ers star James Harden rejoined his teammates for their second practice on Wednesday under new coach Nick Nurse.

Harden participated in "virtually" the entire practice and by the accounts of everyone involved "looked good" while doing so.

"He looked good," Nurse said after practice concluded at Moby Arena. "He looked good, participated in the majority of [practice], anyway, and looked like he's physically in good shape."

By the time the media was let into Wednesday's practice, Harden had already exited and was not made available to reporters. The team posted a couple of pictures of Harden practicing on its social media accounts.

Harden was, according to Nurse and his teammates, fully engaged and participating throughout the proceedings.

Nurse said he spoke briefly to Harden before practice and that things simply went on like they normally would for the second day of training camp practice thereafter. Nurse praised the team's energy and intensity and said it actually was improved from Tuesday's opening practice.

Nothing has changed from Harden's desire to be traded -- preferably to the LA Clippers -- but Nurse said, at least from his standpoint, the expectation is Harden will be remaining with the team and participating in practice the next two days before the team heads to Boston for its preseason opener against the Celtics on Sunday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN) at TD Garden.

"I think so," Nurse said. "He's here. He knows the schedule, and we expect him to be there. I think we can wait and see on [where things go from here], but every indication is that he's here [now]."

Nurse said Harden didn't give any sort of address to his teammates before practice or after arriving Tuesday night.

Tobias Harris, who echoed Nurse's sentiments about how Harden looked in practice, said he didn't need Harden to say anything to the team.

"We're all grown men here," Harris said. "Everybody understands the business of the game of basketball at this point. Personally, he doesn't have to address myself or anybody, truthfully."

"But his participation, in my opinion, is addressing that," he continued. "He's here, and his attitude and energy today allowed everybody to understand that he wants to go out here and compete with us and get stuff done. In my opinion, that's all, really, that matters, is his energy and effort towards myself and all our teammates.

"We're just trying to figure ourselves out as a whole group."

Harris' comments echo the theme of the past couple of days from the 76ers: that they hoped to find a way to have Harden rejoin them moving forward and for the 10-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer to be part of what they are doing. That is despite his public comments calling Daryl Morey, the team's president of basketball operations, a "liar" in August and his standing request to be traded.

The team has continued to try to foster a welcoming atmosphere for Harden, including paying him the 25% of his contract on Friday that was due by Sunday, after already having paid the initial 25% payment he was scheduled to receive on July 1.

And unlike the Ben Simmons situation two years ago, there continues to be no animosity between Harden and any of his teammates, as Harris' comments underscored.

But while everyone involved was happy to see Harden on the court on Wednesday, it remains unclear where things will evolve from here as this saga continues.

The goal for the 76ers remains the same. And after Harden came back to practice, they hope he will be part of the group moving forward -- a group that the Sixers still believe is good enough to contend with the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks atop the star-studded Eastern Conference.

"Like I said, everybody in here understands the business of it, as well," Harris said. "He's not in here disrespecting any one of his teammates in any type of fashion. So at the end of the day, we're out here to play basketball, do our job, represent the city and bring a championship to Philadelphia."