The 30-year-old was given the green light to return to training earlier this week after making good progress in his recovery from a seizure, suffered just hours after meeting his new team-mates for the first time in late April.
Should Hardaker suffer no ill effects during Thursday's training session, he will make his second debut for the Rhinos at the AJ Bell Stadium this weekend.
"He's had a very progression over the last week or so following the medical advice," said Smith as he previewed his first game as Leeds head coach.
"He got through a good session yesterday. He needs to get through another session tomorrow and have an assessment.
"Then he could well be available for selection. If he's available for selection, he'll be selected.
"He's passed everything that he's had to do. The staged progression followed the concussion protocol and he's got through each session as planned.
"The medical team and the S&C (strength and conditioning) team are happy with the way he's gone there. He performed well in practice and looks like he's getting very close to playing. He's come through with flying colours to this point."
Hardaker has not played since helping Wigan Warriors to a Challenge Cup victory over Wakefield Trinity on April 10.
But Smith has no concerns about the England international's general fitness.
"He's in decent condition for sure," said Smith. "I've long believed that players who have played so many games, it's built in there to a certain point."
Smith can call upon James Bentley and Zane Tetevano after suspension, with Richie Myler and David Fusitu’a among the players set to return from injury.
The Rhinos boss expects Myler to make his first appearance since suffering a groin injury on the opening weekend of the season.
"Most likely he'll be available for selection," said Smith.
"He's trained well this week, had great energy and a great vibe and we're looking forward to getting him through all good.
"There are some guys there that are getting very close.
"They still need to get through tomorrow's big session unscathed and come through the other side of that.
"But there are certainly some guys there that are likely to be available for selection."
The return of several key players is a boost for Smith as he settles into the Headingley hot seat.
The break for the Challenge Cup has given Smith, who arrived in the country last Tuesday, the chance to get to know his squad on the training field.
But the Australian has been leaning on Jamie Jones-Buchanan and his other assistants after they oversaw back-to-back wins as he was awaiting visa clearance.
"We haven't finalised that just yet," said Smith on team selection.
"It's not been tricky. I've had lengthy discussions with the other coaches and those guys know the players better at this moment in time.
"It's very much a collaborative plan we've got in place and we'll finalise that after tomorrow's session."