For the first time since being diagnosed with a foot tendon injury in early March, LeBron James was evaluated by the Lakers on Thursday. While the details were pretty vague, it was ultimately good news for the Lakers and LeBron.
There is no updated timeline for LeBron or his return, but he is still improving on what the Lakers call a “gradual basketball movement progression.”
LeBron James continues his on-court activity and is on a "gradual basketball movement progression," the Lakers said on Thursday. There is no specific timeline for his return to game action, according to the team.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 23, 2023
Now, this may be some semantics, but LeBron himself pushed back against the notion that he was re-evaluated on Thursday, and that there was any target for a return date by taking to Twitter.
There wasn’t an evaluation today and there hasn’t been any target date for my return. I’m just working around the clock, every day(3X a day) to give myself to best chance of coming back full strength whenever that is. God bless y’all sources. ♂️ I speak for myself!— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 23, 2023
LeBron has reportedly been doing all he could to get back into the lineup behind the scenes. He did return to the court during shootaround before the Pelicans game. The day after that, reports indicated his foot responded well and was feeling good.
At the same time, none of the reports seemed to suggest his timeline was moved forward at all. In fact, most reports insisted he would not be returning until the end of the season, whether in the final weeks or potentially later.
Without him, the Lakers have done more than simply stay afloat, moving up into the playoff race. However, the team has also more or less plateaued in the play-in spots and could certainly use the final push from LeBron to secure their spot.
With Thursday’s re-evaluation, the news is still positive for the Lakers. It certainly sounds like LeBron James will be back this season. The update is particularly vague, which probably shouldn’t be all that surprising considering how things tend to go with LeBron and injuries. Ultimately, though, it’s hard to not feel good about the fact that LeBron is progressing, and it looks likely he’ll play for the Lakers again this year.
The Lakers job now is to keep the team in the playoffs or play-in game and hope that LeBron can give them the final push.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.