The outlook on a return timeline for LeBron James following his groin injury has continuously left fans scratching their heads. There was originally hope that James could return this week or early next at the latest, but that’s no longer the case. Instead, it seems James’ ever-changing timeline could be drastically worse than originally thought.
On Thursday, the Lakers released a statement revealing that James has been cleared to “increase on-court functional basketball movements.” It also states that there will be an update provided on Wednesday, January 16. This means LeBron is out at least through the latter part of next week, but it now seems that timeline could be optimistic.
As Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson reported, his injury is more complex than originally thought. Robinson was told by a Lakers source that James could be out “until the end of February, or even longer.”
LeBron James’ Current Injury Outlook
While it’s a positive update that James has been able to continue his on-court action, the update only provided a small amount of overall optimism. As Sam Amico of Amico Hoops revealed, the star forward will set a new career high for most consecutive games missed on Friday, as the previous high was eight.
There hasn’t been much revealed in terms of what type of work James has gotten in, and there’s been no clear-cut date set for a return. It’s simply a constantly moving timeline at this point which leads to the belief that the Lakers star may not be as close to a return as some hope.
Up-and-Down Showings by Lakers Without LeBron James
The initial stretch of games with James on the sidelines was a rough one for the Lakers. His injury occurred in a Christmas Day matchup against the Golden State Warriors and the team was able to pull off an impressive 127-101 win. From that point on, they dropped five of their next six games entering the current week.
Thanks to strong play from a few key pieces of the Lakers’ young core, head coach Luke Walton’s squad has now won back-to-back games. The first victory came against the Dallas Mavericks on the road, defeating top NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Luka Doncic’s squad 107-97.
Two days later, Kyle Kuzma channeled his inner-LeBron by pouring in 41 points and leading the Lakers to a 113-100 win over the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers face the Utah Jazz on the road Friday night, followed by games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls to follow.
According to the team’s latest release, this would mark the point where a new update would come on James’ status. It’s also the start of a tough stretch for the Lakers in which they have road games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, followed by a home date with the Warriors.