The Los Angeles Lakers may be getting closer to having superstar LeBron James back in the mix.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters Saturday (PHT) that James practiced with the team and will be listed as questionable for Sunday's game in Indiana. James’ return has been looming for a few days now, but he missed the Lakers’ last game as he continues to recover from a sore right ankle suffered on May 2.
“There’s a chance he plays if things go well,” Vogel said Saturday.
On Wednesday, James confirmed via Twitter that he would not be playing in that game, which was against the Houston Rockets. The Lakers won, 124-122, despite having neither James nor fellow superstar Anthony Davis (groin) in the lineup.
“Getting close but I won’t be in the lineup tonight,” James tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “But more importantly I will be there to put that CHAMPIONSHIP banner in the rafters at Staples Center in front of our fans!!”
Vogel had told reporters this week that James participated in a full practice on Monday, which included some time during a full-court scrimmage. Earlier reports on Tuesday indicated that James could return to the lineup against the Knicks or Rockets this week, but the team is now targeting Saturday, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Injuries to James and Davis have stalled the Lakers after winning the 2020 NBA championship. James has played in just 43 games this season, with Davis appearing in even fewer (34). The Lakers have two games left in their season: at Indiana (May 15) and at New Orleans (May 16).
Los Angeles (40-30) is one game behind Portland for the sixth seed in the Western Conference standings.
“We know the position we are in. We are playing desperate. That is all we can do,” Lakers big man Anthony Davis said on Tuesday. “This win is a confidence booster for us. If LeBron comes back tomorrow, hopefully we can get him acclimated and back in the rhythm. We want him to get healthy and be ready for the playoffs.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.