With the start of the postseason just around the corner, the main focus for the Los Angeles Lakers right now is getting all their key pieces healthy, with the main one being LeBron James.
While James briefly returned after a six-week absence due to a high ankle sprain, he was forced to hit the sidelines again due to the ankle being sore after playing in two games.
The Lakers now only have four regular-season games remaining, so the hope is that James will be able to play in at least a couple of those to get some continuity with the rest of the tea before the start of the playoffs.
It appears that will be the case as according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, James is likely returning for Tuesday night’s game against the New York Knicks:
Much more optimism on state of LeBron James’ right ankle after on-court work Sunday and Monday, sources tell ESPN. James was pain-free after several days off – and able to make hard cuts and elevate. Return on Tuesday vs. Knicks is likely. https://t.co/UTXIC1V0Vh
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 10, 2021
Even though James is expected back, there is no doubt the Lakers will be cautious with their star to avoid any more setbacks that would force him to miss time in the playoffs.
Frank Vogel discussed James’ status after Monday’s practice and although he was noncommital about him playing on Tuesday, he did reveal that he was able to participate in the full practice.
“He did participate in full practice. No update to his status tomorrow,” Vogel said. “General plan is to take it one day at a time. Nothing more than that.”
The fact that James is practicing in full, which Vogel said included drill work, contrived scrimmages and a short full scrimmage, is definitely a good sign that he is close to returning.
As things currently stand, the Lakers will likely have to win all of their remaining regular-season games while also getting help from the Portland Trail Blazers to avoid the play-in tournament, so getting James back now could be perfect timing.
Davis pleased with what he’s seen from James in workouts
There’s no video of the Lakers’ practices and James’ workouts, but Anthony Davis gave a little insight into what he has seen from his co-star lately, and it’s hard not to get excited.
“What I’ve seen from LeBron today, he’ll be fine. Trust me. He’ll be fine,” Davis said after Sunday night’s win over the Phoenix Suns. “He’s been in this game long enough. Obviously, he hasn’t missed a ton of games, but he’s been in this league long enough to be able to come back and lock in and do what he got to do to help the team.
“But I don’t know what other teams are thinking. We know that we’re confident against anybody we match up against, especially when we’re fully healthy. That’s our mindset. … We’re going to come out and fight and I think teams know that just because we’re a lower seed we’re not going to back down from anybody. We’re going to come out and play Lakers basketball and I think teams know that and fear that as well.”
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