The Lakers had perhaps their most notable update on LeBron James injury status and return timeline on Sunday. Ahead of the team’s game against the Magic, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said the Lakers expect LeBron to return this year.
He has been out since suffering an injury against Dallas exactly three weeks ago.
Three weeks after LeBron James suffered a right foot tendon injury in Dallas, Darvin Ham offered the most optimistic and definitive update we’ve heard on James yet: “We anticipate him coming back at some point (this season)”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 19, 2023
There have been lots of reports and rumors and guessing in those three weeks without anything firm. And while Ham didn’t give a necessarily firm return timeline, if anyone outside of LeBron is going to know, it’d be Ham.
The problem has always been how much time is ticking away. Including Sunday’s contest, the Lakers have just 11 games remaining this season. The Western Conference playoff race is so tight that wins and losses grow in magnitude.
The question, then, is going to be what percentage LeBron will be when he returns. Most indications are that this is an injury you can play through — he literally did that when he first suffered the injury — but how healed will LeBron be when he does return.
The indications so far have been positive in his rehab. He returned to the court during a shootaround last week. And it was reported he was feeling better in the days after, which was a positive sign. But the reports also suggest he wouldn’t be back until the final week of the season.
Again, this feels a lot like a guessing game right now. What we know is that LeBron has been back on the court and that he’s expected back this season. Everything in between feels like lots of question marks.
But it’s still more steps in the right direction that he’ll be back. The Lakers will sorely need him back as soon as he physically can return.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.