Update: The Lakers have confirmed that James will miss the upcoming two-game road-trip but has been cleared to practice starting next week, setting Monday’s game against the Warriors as the first potential return date.
From Lakers MR: LeBron James was evaluated by team medical staff and physicians today. James, who will not travel with the team on the upcoming two-game road trip, has been cleared to return to practice commencing next week, and progress towards a return to game play thereafter.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 16, 2019
Original Story Follows:
LeBron James is inching closer to his return but it appears as though the Los Angeles Lakers will be without his services for at least two more games. According to agent Rich Paul (via Tania Ganguli of the LA Times), James will not be traveling with the team as they head to Oklahoma City and Houston to face the Thunder and Rockets.
According to Paul, James could be back on Martin Luther King Day as the Lakers gear up to face the Warriors, the team against whom LeBron strained his groin.
Paul has been adamant over the past week that James will go once he is fully healthy which is the right approach for both parties. As deep as the Lakers’ struggles have gone without their star on the court, they need to make sure there is no risk for reaggravating his injury before they bring him back.
The Lakers actually hung in with the Thunder in their first matchup, also without James, eventually losing to Paul George’s heroics down the stretch. Whether they can replicate that and ultimately win remains to be seen.
The Lakers face the Thunder on Thursday and the Rockets on Saturday. They are two games back of the surging Rockets and three behind the Thunder.