Lakers Rumors: LeBron James Aiming To Return To Lineup Next Week
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries may end up making or breaking the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020-21 season as they simply cannot stay healthy and are running out of time before the start of the playoffs.

The Lakers briefly saw LeBron James return after six weeks due to a sprained right ankle, but he was unable to finish his second game against the Toronto Raptors, leaving late due to soreness in the ankle. James was then reportedly ruled out for the team’s back-to-back set against the L.A. Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.

Despite the setback, it appears the 36-year-old is looking to return sometime next week, per Shams Charania of The Athletic:

“Sources tell me LeBron James is aiming to return to Lakers lineup next week. I’m told the likely return scenario is Tuesday or Wednesday when the Lakers plays the Knicks and Rockets at home.

“The Lakers and James won’t rush his return from this sore right ankle. They’ll make sure that when he does return he’s as close to 100% as possible. He’s already missed one game and he’s expected to sit out Thursday, Friday, and Sunday against Phoenix to close out this week and that will then allow the Lakers and James to reevaluate his injury into the final week of the regular season.”

It seems that James may have ramped up too quickly after not getting any scrimmages in before his return, so it is good the team is playing it safe. The Lakers championship hopes live and die with James’ availability, so they should be doing everything to make sure he is fully healthy come playoff time.

However, his absence could lead Los Angeles down into the play-in tournament where they will need to win a game to secure their spot. It would be unwise to bet against the Purple and Gold in a game that matters, but it would still be in the team’s best interest to avoid the tournament.

Vogel not worried about play-in tournament

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has maintained that the team doesn’t care about the standings, and that seems to still be true despite their poor play in recent weeks. Even though the play-in tournament is a likely outcome now, Vogel reiterated he is not stressing about it.

“The play-in tournament is out of my control,” Vogel said. “If we’re in it, we’ll compete and win those games, so we’ll try to advance. Whether we should have one or not, it’s not up to me, so I don’t spend too much time on whether it’s good or not.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Lakers Trade Rumors: Jordan Clarkson Considered More Appealing Option Than Larry Nance Jr. And Julius Randle

With the Feb. 8 trade deadline rapidly approaching, it’s no secret that Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball…

Lakers News: Anthony Davis Says There Are No Moral Victories After Getting Swept By Nuggets & Is Own Biggest Critic

On the brink of elimination, the Los Angeles Lakers went down swinging as they gave the Denver Nuggets a run for their money…

Lakers Highlights: Anthony Davis, LeBron James & D’Angelo Russell Lead L.A. In Game 3 Blowout Win Over Warriors

The Los Angeles Lakers knew they needed to defend their home court in Game 3 in order to keep the Golden State Warriors…

Lakers News: Gregg Popovich Praises LeBron James For ‘Commitment To Excellence’ In His Career

LeBron James celebrated his 36th birthday with a victory as the Los Angeles Lakers took out the San Antonio Spurs 121-107…