LeBron James is to the point that his return to the court will be a game-day decision Thursday.
The 34-year-old superstar has participated in full contact scrimmages this week for the first time since straining his left groin Dec. 25 but continues to be listed as day-to-day.
LeBron getting shots up after practice: pic.twitter.com/4R9jR9EJfi
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 28, 2019
He was only able to watch from courtside Tuesday night as the 76ers beat the Lakers, 121-105, though reports have suggested four-time MVP could be back on the court Thursday to face the Clippers.
However, coach Luke Walton insisted the team will make a last assessment on James.
Asked whether he was viewing Wednesday’s practice as a final test for James, Walton told reporters: “No, we’re looking at it as we’re going to practice again.
“We’ll do some full-court scrimmaging again, see how he feels.
Although the Lakers were unable to recover from a slow start, Luke says he’s proud of them for fighting back and competing. pic.twitter.com/jlLzqBHVFw
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 30, 2019
“No matter what happens, the decision won’t be made [Wednesday]. It will be about how he feels later that night and into what he feels like the next day when he wakes up, more importantly.
“So, not a final test, just another day of seeing if he’s ready yet.”
James said on Instagram later Monday it was “almost that time” to play again.
James originally suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Lakers’ win over the Warriors on Christmas Day. He met with trainers on the court, appeared to tell them he “felt it pop” and then headed to the locker room without assistance.
James underwent an MRI the following day and said on Twitter he “dodged a bullet.” But, he has missed the Lakers’ last 16 games. Los Angeles (26-25) is 6-11 in his absence and has fallen into the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, two games back of the Clippers — an added twist on whether James could return for Thursday’s intracity matchup.
Los Angeles signed James to a four-year, $153.3 million contract in July. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.