The healing of James’ groin injury is progressing and James has been cleared to increase on-court functional basketball movements. A further update will be provided on January 16th.
Since losing LeBron from the lineup the Lakers has lost five of their last eight games and at times looked completely lost on both sides of the ball. When a player with the magnitude of LeBron James is suddenly missing from your lineup, the role of ever other player on the roster changes significantly, and that was something the Lakers certainly weren’t prepared to deal with.
This is LeBron’s first occasion missing significant time due to injury since his back spasms caused him to miss two weeks in 2014. With durability being high on the list of James’ skills, fans and teammates are always shocked to see him go down at all. Last season James set a career high in games played as he made an appearance in all 82 contests for the first time.
Many are expecting LeBron to return to the lineup on the 17th as Los Angeles starts a string of games against Western Conference rivals Oklahoma City, Houston, and Golden State. However his return to the lineup on that date is no guarantee. The Lakers’ organization promises a further update at that time inferring that he will be re-evaluated on that date, but depending on how his recovery progresses it is possible he may still miss more time.
The Lakers can ill afford to suffer without LeBron for too much longer. After their most recent stretch of play they find themselves 8th in the Western Conference still narrowly clinging to that last playoff spot.