A prominent Los Angeles Lakers insider believes superstar LeBron James is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from a right foot tendon injury.
Jovan Buha, who covers the Lakers for The Athletic, talked about James’ potential return with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on March 16.
“It’s sounding like if he does, it’s probably going to be the last week or so of the regular season,” Buha said. “You hear conflicting things. This has been one of the tougher things to dig on. The Lakers have played this very close to the vest. There hasn’t been much out there on it. A couple of notable developments this week were he returned to the team without the walking boot over the weekend. In between quarters, he was dribbling the ball and shooting layups. It was stationary but didn’t look like a guy who was in a walking boot, limping, and arrived in one of those scooters. He’s already ahead of schedule from that perspective. At shootaround in New Orleans, he was shooting free throws and moving around. The plan is to re-evaluate him next week, which will be about 3.5 weeks since the injury.”
James suffered his injury on February 26 against the Dallas Mavericks. The good news is that the NBA’s all-time leading scorer is no longer in a walking boot, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“Despite seeing their three-game winning streak come to an end, there was one positive development for the Lakers on Sunday,” McMenamin wrote on March 12. “LeBron James rejoined the team after being on a medically excused absence in the past week. The 20-year veteran is no longer wearing a walking boot. The tendon injury in his right foot will be reevaluated in approximately a week and a half, according to the team.”
LeBron James Is Itching to Come Back
James is itching to come back. The four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP posted a picture on his Instagram account of him in a recovery chamber with two emojis. This particular photo has been used a lot by athletes who are recovering from an injury.
James is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists on the season while shooting 50.1% from the field, 30.8% from beyond the arc and 75.9% from the free-throw line. The Lakers, who are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, have 12 games left in the regular season.
The top six seeds in the conference automatically qualify for the playoffs, while seeds 7-10 make the play-in tournament. The Lakers’ last game of the season is on April 9 against the Utah Jazz.
The Lakers Lost to the Rockets Without LeBron James & Anthony Davis
The Lakers suffered a bad loss on March 15, losing to the Houston Rockets, who have the worst record in the West. James and Anthony Davis sat on the bench as their teammates struggled against Houston.
“We’ve talked about it and I’ve said it before games, after games, non-game days: energy, effort and urgency,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said. “And I thought coming out of the gates that kind of was nonexistent.”
The Lakers host the No. 8 Mavericks on March 17. Davis is expected to play.