LeBron James has been out with a high-ankle sprain for six weeks, but his return to the Los Angeles Lakers is finally imminent. James tested his ankle prior to Friday's game, and decided he was good to go.
News broke early Friday that James could return to the Lakers either Friday or Sunday. Things looked more optimistic as the day went on, as James was upgraded to questionable a few hours before game time.
James will not be on a minutes restriction during Friday's game.
Lakers struggled without James and Davis
The last few months have been difficult for the Lakers. They were second in the Western Conference in mid-February, but then their two most important players got injured: Anthony Davis and James. Davis went down on Feb. 14 with a right calf strain, and James injured his ankle less than a month later. Davis returned on April 22, the Lakers had to survive 14 games without Davis and then another 16 without both Davis and James.
The Lakers went 7-7 without Davis and 7-9 without Davis and James. They're 1-3 since Davis returned. A combined 15-19 record without their two major superstars isn't disastrous, but it's far from great. Since Davis injured his calf in February, the Lakers have dropped from second to fifth in the West. The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns have both clinched playoff spots, while the Lakers are now hovering just two wins above the line for the play-in tournament.
Their current spot in the standings could definitely be better, but the bottom line is that the Lakers managed to survive more than two months without one or both of their superstars. Having both James and Davis back in the lineup should help them get back on track and shore things up in the final 10 games of the regular season.
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