LeBron James update: Lakers star practices, day to day

Lakers forward LeBron James looks up at the scoreboard from the sideline.
LeBron James looks up at the scoreboard during the Lakers’ game against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday at Staples Center.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

LeBron James participated fully in the Lakers’ practice on Monday, setting the stage for another return from ankle problems that have cost him 24 games this season.

After missing 20 games following a high ankle sprain he sustained against Atlanta on March 20, James returned and played twice before the injury became too painful for him to continue.

“The general plan is to take it one day at a time. Nothing more than that,” coach Frank Vogel said.

The Lakers host the New York Knicks on Tuesday and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. The team listed him as “out” on its most recent injury report, but that could change before tipoff against the Knicks.

James declined to speak to reporters after practice, though he previously said that he wouldn’t rush a return until he felt healthy enough to play.

“I think our team is predicated on health. That is the number one thing for our ballclub. We’re a team that we need to be healthy and we need to be full,” James said after the Lakers lost to Toronto on May 2. “That’s going to be the biggest thing for us down the stretch, more than the games that we’re playing. Just how healthy we’re going to be going into the stretch run.”


After the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns, 123-110, Davis said fellow All-Star LeBron James ‘looks good in workouts.’

Vogel said James participated in the entirety of the team’s practice on Monday, which included a short scrimmage.

Word began to circulate over the weekend about James ramping up his workouts, impressing those who witnessed the sessions with his speed, explosiveness and ability to cut on the injured joint.

Anthony Davis, who has rounded into his elite form after returning from his own injury issues, added even more excitement to things after Sunday’s win against Phoenix when he grinned before talking about James.

“What I’ve seen from LeBron today … he’s … he’ll be fine,” Davis said Sunday. “Trust me. He’ll be fine. He’s been in this game long enough, obviously he’s missed a ton of games, but he’s been in this league long enough to be able to come in and lock in and do what he has to do to help the team.”

The Lakers are currently in seventh place in the West, which would land them in the four-team play-in tournament. A top-six finish guarantees a team qualifies for the first round of the playoffs.



When: 7 p.m., Tuesday

On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet, TNT; Radio: 710, 1330

Update: While LeBron James (ankle) is listed out for the game on Monday’s injury report, the Lakers have been able to count on Anthony Davis, who has been dominant in three of his last four games, including a win over Phoenix on Sunday. The Lakers could have Kyle Kuzma available after a one-game absence because of a sore back. The Knicks have been one of the best stories in the NBA this season, led by the rapidly improving Julius Randle and the resurgent Derrick Rose. Like the Lakers, they’ve got an elite defense.