LeBron James is operating out of time to return to the court docket. As of Sunday, the top of the common season is just three weeks away, and but it is not clear when the injured Los Angeles Lakers star will be capable to rejoin the staff. Fortunately, coach Darvin Ham provided a constructive replace on his standing forward of Sunday’s recreation in opposition to the Orlando Magic: whereas he would not specify an actual timeline, Ham did affirm that the Lakers “anticipate him coming again in some unspecified time in the future.”
James suffered a foot damage on Feb. 26 in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks. He stayed on the ground to assist the Lakers overcome a 27-point deficit to defeat the Mavericks, however he has not performed for them since. While the precise nature of the damage is unclear, The Athletic’s Shams Charania lately reported that the Lakers are making ready for a prolonged absence.
All issues thought-about, the Lakers have performed fairly properly with out James. Since the commerce deadline, they’re now 6-6 with their celebrity sidelined. That is not supreme, particularly as they’re at present seeded No. 11 within the Western Conference, however contemplating how poorly a few of his different groups have fared with out him previously, a .500 report is much from disastrous.
The Lakers have a weak remaining schedule and are in any other case wholesome. Assuming they will keep afloat with out James, if he’s again in time for the play-in spherical, the Lakers can be among the many most harmful groups on the backside of the bracket.
Of course, we do not know what state James can be in when he does finally return. The same state of affairs performed out in 2021, when James returned from a excessive ankle sprain proper earlier than the playoffs and struggled in a first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers want James as near 100% as potential in the event that they plan to make any noise within the postseason. Right now, it simply is not clear whether or not or not that can ever be the case once more this season.
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