The Los Angeles Lakers have stayed very tight-lipped concerning when LeBron James might make his return to the court. Just recently, head coach Frank Vogel said the superstar is out indefinitely. It appears the coach was just keeping his cards close to the vest.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, LeBron could return as early as Friday against the Sacramento Kings. He’ll make an attempt to play and test out his ankle. If he’s still not ready, he could be good to go on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.
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
LeBron was previously listed as out for Thursday’s game, but Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that he’s been upgraded to questionable.
The Lakers have officially upgraded LeBron James (right ankle sprain) to questionable for tonight’s game against Sacramento.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 30, 2021
It’s been a tough stretch for the superstar, who is one of the most durable players in the NBA. He hasn’t had to miss a lot of time throughout his career due to injury. He’s now been out for over a month. With the playoffs closing in, this is perfect timing for LeBron to return and work off any rust that has accumulated.
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LeBron’s Return Coming Just in Time
The Lakers have a solid team without LeBron but when he’s on the court, they elevate to one of the league’s best. They were able to stay afloat while he was out and went 8-12. All things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse. However, the Lakers have fallen off a bit recently.
They’ve lost four of their last five games and Anthony Davis has struggled. Los Angeles is in serious danger of losing the five seed in the Western Conference. They only hold a one-game lead over the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have made it clear they don’t care about seeding, but they should. If they stay in the five spot, they’ll play the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs as opposed to the Clippers. That will be a much easier match-up for them.
With LeBron likely returning soon, there’s no reason to believe the Lakers won’t be able to rack off some wins before the playoffs and keep a solid seed.
What to Expect From LeBron
We’ve seen that Davis is needing a lot of time to ramp things up after being out with injury. However, it shouldn’t be as bad for LeBron. He’s just a different breed of player and hasn’t been out as long. There’s no doubt he’s been keeping in shape to the best of his abilities.
A return against the Kings could be optimal as they are one of the NBA’s weaker teams. LeBron won’t have to push too hard to help lead his team to a win. Similar to Davis, it’s likely that he’ll be put on some type of minutes restriction to start. If he does play on Friday, it’s hard to see him playing more than 15 to 20. Other than that, he should make a big impact upon his return and the Lakers need it. They just aren’t nearly as good without him.