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LeBron James, Anthony Davis upgraded to questionable to play vs. Pelicans

More and more signs are pointing towards the Lakers getting both LeBron James and Anthony Davis back when they face the Pelicans on Friday.

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Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

This is not an April Fool’s Joke: All signs are pointing towards Anthony Davis and LeBron James making their latest returns from injury for the team’s pivotal matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Thursday that Davis was planning to return on Friday, and Hall of Fame NBA insider Marc Stein said that his sources were saying that James is planning to play on Friday “if his left ankle holds up in pregame testing.”

Davis has missed 39 games total this season, including the last 18 in a row with his mid-foot sprain. James, meanwhile, has missed 21 over the course of the year, and the last two with his current ankle sprain.

Head coach Frank Vogel, as expected, played things a bit more coy than the reporters above, and said on Thursday night that ultimately the Lakers’ medical staff will decide if either star will play.

“Those are medical decisions. If there is any chance those guys can be out there, they will be. They want to get back as quickly as they can,” Vogel said. “But those are medical decisions.”

However, the Lakers themselves fueled the optimism on Friday morning when they listed both James and Davis as questionable on their injury report for the game, upgrades from their previous doubtful statuses.

And it’s not like what Vogel said contradicted the reporting that’s out there — other than James’ possible April Fool’s day joke/announcement that he’s done for the season. But provided that was just a LePrank, it does sound like both guys are pretty close to playing, and while the final call will indeed be the medical team’s if they suit up, it does seem like that is what is expected to happen, based on all the rumors over the course of this week.

And the Lakers will need both of their stars back soon if they hope to even make the play-in tournament, as they are currently 31-45, and in 11th place behind the San Antonio Spurs (also 31-45, but owning the tiebreaker) for the final spot in the West. So with six games left, the Lakers have to win one more game than the Spurs do, and the latter has a significantly easier schedule.

The Lakers’ final six games

  • Pelicans (Home)
  • Nuggets (Home)
  • Suns (Road)
  • Warriors (Road)
  • Thunder (Home)
  • Nuggets (Road)

The Spurs’ final six games

  • Blazers (Home)
  • Blazers (Home)
  • Nuggets (Road)
  • Timberwolves (Road)
  • Warriors (Home)
  • Mavericks (Road)

So if they’re going to have any hope of outperforming the surging Spurs in that stretch, the Lakers will need both of their stars back as soon as possible. And maybe as soon as tonight, when they will tip against the Pelicans at 7:30 p.m. PT. The game will be nationally televised on NBA TV, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.