The Los Angeles Lakers have not been playing good basketball as of late, losing three of their last four games, although obviously a big reason for that has been the absence of LeBron James.
James was in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign before going down with a high ankle sprain on March 20 against the Atlanta Hawks, which has forced him to miss more than a month of action.
With only 10 regular seasons to go, there has been recent optimism that James would soon return in order to begin his ramp up for the postseason as well as keep the Lakers out of the play-in game.
It appears that is the case as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that he will test his ankle out before Friday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings and if all goes well he will attempt to play:
ESPN Sources: LeBron James’ return from longest absence of his career — out since March 20 with high-ankle sprain – could come tonight vs. Kings. James plans to test ankle and make a game-time decision. Otherwise, he’s likely to return as soon as Sunday vs. Toronto.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 30, 2021
The Lakers listed James as out on Thursday’s injury report, although that designation changed to questionable on Friday, which is a good sign he may play.
This is obviously great news for the Lakers, who have not been the same team without James for understandable reasons.
The Lakers got their other star in Anthony Davis back four games ago, and now with the expected return of James, they will essentially be at full strength, which gives them plenty of time to get integrated together before the playoffs.
It remains to be seen if James will be on a minutes restriction when he returns, although that can be expected at least for his first game or two.
Drummond ‘can’t process’ extent of opportunities he’ll have playing with James
One big reason why it’s so important for James to come back before the postseason is so he can get some time on the court with Andre Drummond, who was the Lakers’ biggest addition on the buyout market.
Drummond recently discussed how much he’s looking forward to sharing the floor with James, who should be able to set him up for some easy buckets.
“I don’t think my brain can process what type of opportunities will come from him being on the court,” he said.
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