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Practice Report: The Beard is back

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Thunder guard James Harden says his head doesn’t hurt anymore and he’s ready to get back to playing basketball.

“It’s been kinda crazy (this week) but I’ve just been trying to relax and do what I have to do in order to get back on the court.”

He was back on the practice floor today for the Thunder and he’ll be back in action at Chesapeake Energy Arena Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Harden wanted to talk more about that than he did the shot to head he got from Lakers forward Metta World Peace but he did admit, “I was shocked at first and then I was just trying to get up and get back in the game but we’ve got the best training staff in the NBA and they did a good job of not allowing that to happen.”

Harden also said he’s not been contacted by World Peace although, “I’m thinkin’ he apologized in an interview, I don’t know,” and Harden said, “I don’t know,” if the elbow was intentional and, “I can’t comment on (the suspension) that’s the NBA’s job.”

What Harden did talk about is how good it feels to be back in action, in uniform, instead of hanging out in street clothes.

“I’m happy to get back on the court and help my teammates win basketball games,” he said, “coming off the bench being that guy to go to is definitely something to look forward to, especially playing against Dallas.”

Harden helped settle things down against the Mavericks last season in the Conference Finals when Russell Westbrook struggled. This season the Thunder has won three of four games against their rivals from south of the Red River.

“We still have a bad taste in our mouths (from the loss in the Conference Finals), Dallas is a great team and they have one of the best players to ever play the game in Dirk (Nowitzki) so it’s gonna be a fun series.”

A lot more fun for Harden since he will be playing instead of just watching.

Randy Renner has covered Oklahoma sports for 30 years and currently writes for NBA.com.