LeBron James has now missed more consecutive games than he ever has over the course of his incredible career, a streak that the Los Angeles Lakers desperately need to end as soon as possible.
Talk from shoot-around Tuesday morning remained optimistic though, as reporters entered to the scene of James shooting threes with his teammates to end practice, and head coach Luke Walton sounded hopeful that James will be back soon (via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN):
While James has yet to do any full-court basketball activities with the team, Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton said he’s hopeful to hear positive news Wednesday, when James’ status will be updated.
”I’m optimistic about life,” Walton said when asked if he’s optimistic about James. “So yes, that would be covered in that.
”I think we’ll get good news back.”
Despite that, as the Lakers prepared for a far too important game against the Chicago Bulls later Tuesday night, it sounds like James was still somewhat limited:
“He didn’t do the up and down stuff,” Walton said of James’ activity during the shootaround. “He did the half-court shooting and passing.”
After practice, James got a few shots up alongside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, too — though it should be noted how slowly he was moving and how little he was elevated on his jumpers.
More LeBron James at shootaround pic.twitter.com/clFMavvPKD— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 15, 2019
It makes total sense that James would be ultra-conservative in his movements given how easily he could tweak his strained groin. Having strained a groin myself, the best way I can summarize how you’re forced to move is to say it’s like walking like there’s a raw egg in a very uncomfortable place that you must not break. It’s the worst.
It’s likely that no one in the Lakers organization is looking forward to James’ return more than Walton himself, as the situation has become so dire that he might have to beat the borderline-mutinous Chicago Bulls in order to remain employed. That optimism Walton mentioned earlier is all the more impressive given his current level of job security.
A ton is riding on tomorrow’s re-evaluation of James’ groin. Everyone seems to have the right mindset heading into it, and James shooting is undeniably progress, which is good news, because the Lakers need him back, before this swoon leads to an organizational change that cannot be undone.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.