Jeremy Lin will play, but James Harden out with ankle injury for Rockets vs. Mavericks

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin will make his return to the lineup for the Rockets tonight, but James Harden will sit out his second straight game with his high ankle sprain.

With the Rockets' guard depth at a season-low, the team will get a much needed infusion of health as Jeremy Lin will return from his back spasms tonight against the Dallas Mavericks. He will start in Patrick Beverley's place. However, James Harden, who has been dealing with a high ankle sprain for the last week, will miss his second straight game with the injury. Expect Francisco Garcia or Aaron Brooks to start for him.

With Beverley breaking a bone in his hand against Detroit, the Rockets were down to just one point guard, but with Lin returning from injury and rookie guard Isaiah Canaan being called up from the D-League, the Rockets are back to fighting strength. Lin will probably not play full minutes in his return tonight, so Canaan could have a chance to sneak in his NBA debut if the Rockets go to a two point guard lineup at any point.

When Harden was diagnosed with that high ankle sprain, the initial reaction was of disappointment as high sprains typically knock players out of action for a couple of weeks. However, Harden suited up the next game and tried to warm up to get into the game on Saturday night, so it makes sense to conclude that he will return soon.

We haven't had any word on Omer Asik, but he has been dealing with swelling in his knee and could be out for a while longer. With Greg Smith nursing another knee injury, the Rockets need him back as soon as he can make it.

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