LeBron James took a small step toward making his return for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, as the team announced that he has been given the okay to ramp up his workload on the court.
However, while any update on James is good news at this point, he’s still guaranteed to miss the next three games, and there’s a real chance he misses a few more after that.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, “James has done very little basketball activity since the injury outside of standstill shooting.”
And it doesn’t sound like James is planning on rushing himself — or risking his long-term health — to get back onto the court sooner (via ESPN):
While James, 34, could be in line to return in time for the Lakers’ game against the Thunder, he will take a cautious approach and is prepared to be out multiple weeks if that’s what it takes to return at 100 percent, a source familiar with James’ thinking told ESPN.
And from James’ perspective, that makes perfect sense.
After all, we’re talking about the same guy that reportedly spends roughly $1.5 million a year to keep his body in pristine condition. Now 34 years old, it’s as important as it’s ever been for James not push his body beyond its limits.
For the Lakers, though, this is bad news, beyond the obvious reasons.
With the exception of a few games, the Lakers’ schedule in January only gets harder from here. Over their next 10 games, they will see the Rockets, Thunder, Warriors, Timberwolves, 76ers and Clippers. The Lakers are a combined 2-6 against those teams this season.
As much progress as the Lakers have made over the last week, they’re still not going to have the first, second or third best players on the floor on most nights. That’s not a knock on them, that’s just the reality face at this stage of their development.
Here’s to hoping we get good news from the training staff when James is reevaluated on Wednesday.
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