LeBron James is taking steps toward getting back on the court.
The 34-year-old Lakers star is progressing in his return from a groin strain and has been cleared to “increase on-court functional basketball movements,” the team announced Thursday. James will be re-evaluated again Wednesday.
James has not played since suffering the injury in the third quarter of Los Angeles’ win over the Warriors on Dec. 25. 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 eight games. Los Angles has tallied a 3-5 record in his absence.
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.
The Lakers will face the Jazz in Utah on Friday. They’ll enter that matchup with a 23-19 record.