According to multiple reports, James could play a few games before the regular season ends. The four-time MVP is making sound progress in his recovery from a right foot tendon injury he suffered on February 26 against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers have nine games remaining in the regular season, beginning on March 24 against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Los Angeles’ last three games of the season take place on April 5, April 7 and April 9.
James, 38, has appeared in 47 games this season. The four-time Finals MVP is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists while shooting 50.1% from the field, 30.8% from beyond the arc and 75.9% from the free-throw line.
LeBron James Has Been Doing Everything He Can to Return
On March 10, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on “Get Up” that James is “turning over every stone” to play again. The Lakers are 11-6 since the trade deadline and a perfect 3-0 when James plays with Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, two of the players Los Angeles acquired at the trade deadline from the Utah Jazz. The LakeShow are 2-0 when D’Angelo Russell and James are in the lineup.
“From what I am told, LeBron is turning over every stone he possibly can from a treatment perspective to get that foot in position to return at some point this season,” Windhorst said.
The Lakers improved to 36-37 after defeating the Phoenix Suns on March 22 at home. They are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings. The top six seeds in the conference automatically qualify for the playoffs, while seeds 7-10 make the play-in tournament.
The Lakers Can’t Win a Title Without LeBron James
The Lakers won’t win the championship this season without James, who became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in February. Los Angeles may not even make the playoffs if LeBron doesn’t come back.
“James’ return, obviously, is the most important factor in the Lakers’ postseason chances,” Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote on March 22. “The Lakers are 10-6 since the trade deadline, including 6-5 without James. But for them to have a chance to upset a top seed — the Lakers will likely enter the playoffs as the No. 7 or 8 seed, if at all — they need James available and dominating like he was pre-injury.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham told reporters on March 19 that he expects James to play again this season. The purple and gold are 24-23 this season when the King plays.
“We anticipate him coming back at some point,” Ham said. “I think Bron, him being out has revealed that we have a lot of different weapons that are very capable players on both sides of the ball that can help us achieve the goal that we’re trying to achieve. And when he comes back, he’s just going to add to it.”
James signed with the Lakers during the summer of 2018 as an unrestricted free agent. He guided the franchise to the 2020 title over the Miami Heat at the Walt Disney World bubble in six games.