LeBron James will travel with the Los Angeles Lakers to Portland this weekend and barring any major setbacks with his groin injury, he is "on track" to be in uniform when the team takes on the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Saturday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Good news for the Lakers: LeBron James (groin) will travel with the team to Portland and is on track to play on Saturday against the Trail Blazers, league sources say. James is said to be feeling fine enough to play after receiving treatment on Thursday. He re-aggravated his groin injury in the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers.
James was first revealed to be dealing with “nagging groin issues” over the weekend, and he said after the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers that his collision with Patrick Beverley re-aggravated them. Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that night that there was a possibility that James would miss games, and that multiple Lakers employees were urging him to rest his ailing groin.
James has also been dealing with the “thoracic muscle strain” the Lakers have listed him under on their injury report with since at least last Saturday, and the issue caused him to miss his first game of the season against the Denver Nuggets.
If James has to sit out again, the Lakers will have a lot of production and minutes to make up for. He is currently averaging 25.7 points, a career-high 10.6 assists and 7.6 rebounds in a career-low 34.9 minutes. Still, while they may not be a lot for James historically, those are a lot of minutes for the Lakers to fill, and so far this season replacing James has been a tough task for the team, which has been 14.4 points per 100 possessions worse when James sits than they are when he plays, according to NBA.com.
If James is in street clothes on Saturday, expect Kyle Kuzma and Jared Dudley to play more in his absence as the Lakers look to fill minutes on the wing while also making up for Kuzma’s normal stints at power forward.
The Lakers will next head to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PST. Expect more updates on James’ status before then.