Well, here we are, folks. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that LeBron James could return tonight against the Sacramento Kings. He will test the ankle before the game, with his previous status of being “out” changing to a true “game-time decision”. If the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have him on the court tonight, Wojnarowski reports that he would be likely to play Sunday when the Toronto Raptors come to town.
ESPN Sources: LeBron James’ return from longest absence of his career — out since March 20 with high-ankle sprain – could come tonight vs. Kings. James plans to test ankle and make a game-time decision. Otherwise, he’s likely to return as soon as Sunday vs. Toronto.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 30, 2021
As Wojnarowski also noted, LeBron James has been out for the longest absence of his career. If he ends up missing tonight’s game against the Kings, it will mark the 21st game in a row that he hasn’t played. His second-longest absence came with the Lakers in the 2018-19 season when he had his groin issue. He missed 17 games in a row with that injury.
LeBron will be coming back shortly after Anthony Davis returned from his long absence, as the two superstars will look to fully right the ship with only 10 games remaining in the Lakers’ regular season. The Lakers are 8-12 since he went out, dropping to the 5th seed in the Western Conference. After dropping two games to the Mavericks this past weekend, they are now only one game ahead of the Mavs in the standings while also only being two games ahead of the Trail Blazers who are in the 7th seed. The Lakers want to avoid the 7th seed the most, as they would be subjected to the play-in tournament at that spot where anything could happen leading to a possibly disappointing end to the season.
LeBron James was with Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid as MVP candidates before he went down with the injury. He was arguably the clear-cut favorite at the time, as the Lakers had the 2nd-best record in the league when he went down while he was averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game while playing some of the best defense he’s played in a few years.
Look for LeBron to come firing out of the gate, as he and the rest of the team need to start ramping up their intensity with the playoffs right around the corner.