LeBron James injury update: Lakers star (groin) reportedly ruled out vs. Clippers

LeBron James appears close to making his return, but his status remains uncertain.

The Lakers star participated in the scrimmage portion of Wednesday’s practice and will be evaluated again before his availability for Thursday’s game against the Clippers is determined, the team announced.

However, the Los Angeles Times reported James will not suit up.

According to ESPN, Lakers coach Luke Walton said the team is preparing as if James won’t be available.

James initially was hurt in the Lakers’ win over the Warriors on Christmas Day. He underwent an MRI the following day and said on Twitter he “dodged a bullet,” though he has missed L.A.’s last 17 games. He was averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season before being sidelined.

The Lakers (26-25) are 6-11 in James’ absence and have fallen into the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, two games back of the Clippers — an added twist for Thursday’s intracity matchup.