When the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James to a four-year contract, there was plenty of discussion over how the team would manage him in his 16th season. Head coach Luke Walton acknowledged James was likely to receive days off from practice as a means of keeping him fresh.
Although the Lakers notched an impressive blowout win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas, it came with a bit of a worst-case scenario for the team as James sustained an injury. A strained groin suffered in the third quarter prevented him from returning but there was optimism moving forward.
That has since changed, as James’ strain was said to be ‘significant’ and one in which the Lakers were preparing to be without the 16-year veteran for several games. The Lakers have not released a timeline for James’ return.
He appears to have at least taken a minor step forward by doing some shooting at practice, although James remains out for Wednesday’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
LeBron has been ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Thunder, but he did get some shots up today. Luke Walton said it’s the first time since the injury he’s seen LeBron shooting.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 1, 2019
Up to this point, the only updates on James were that he was receiving treatment on a daily basis. When James suffered the strained groin, a general consensus was that the Lakers would not rush him back to the court.
Particularly with his type of injury, the risk of rushing back could lead to aggravating the strain, leading to a more prolonged absence. With James sitting Wednesday, the earliest he now would return is Friday when the Lakers host the New York Knicks.
L.A. is 1-2 in games without James, having just snapped a two-game losing streak with a comeback victory over the Sacramento Kings to close out 2018.
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