Frank Vogel told reporters early Friday morning that LeBron James will be a game-time decision tonight against the Boston Celtics.
The game will tip off at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Although ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier in the week that there was “growing optimism” that LeBron James would return for the Lakers in their Friday contest against the Celtics, that type of optimism has now transitioned to a “50-50” shot at him playing per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
New story: LeBron James is inching towards a return from an abdominal injury. Sources tell ESPN it’s “50-50” that James plays in Boston on Friday https://t.co/7ed7DWRjRi
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 18, 2021
In McMenamin’s report, he says that LeBron had a pre-game workout with assistant coach Phil Handy before the Bucks game began and that LeBron had to pause the workout a handful of times “in what appeared to be an attempt to stretch out his abdomen.”
As LeBron was leaving the arena following the Lakers’ loss to the Bucks on Wednesday, McMenamin asked him if he’d be playing Friday with LeBron stating “I hope”.
I also hope LeBron can return, as the Lakers are now 4-6 without him with a 4-2 record when he plays.
Original story (11/16/2021):
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a rough go of it lately, recently losing 121-103 to the Chicago Bulls in Alex Caruso’s first return to the Staples Center. The loss dropped them to 8-7, with a 4-5 record in that total with LeBron James out. He’s been dealing with an abdominal strain lately that has kept him out of the last seven games.
However, that total may stop at eight games as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that there’s “growing optimism” that LeBron will return on Friday against the Boston Celtics. The Lakers are starting a five-game road trip on Wednesday when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks.
There's growing optimism that LeBron James could make his return to the Lakers vs. Boston on Friday (ESPN, 7:30 PM), sources tell ESPN. James has been out two weeks with an abdominal strain. Lakers start five-game road trip in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 16, 2021
On Sunday, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that LeBron would return “soon” while Frank Vogel has also been expressing some recent optimism about his return even though he continued to deem him “day-to-day” with the injury.
Although it’s been much worse in the past when LeBron James misses games in terms of wins and losses, the Lakers really didn’t afford themselves much room for losses when LeBron went down due to their very poor start to the season. Even the team’s three-game winning streak when LeBron went down didn’t seem that great considering those wins came against the Cavaliers and the Rockets (twice).
It’s unfortunate that LeBron will probably not play in the first game of their road trip against the Bucks, however, it’s definitely a blessing that LeBron will be returning near the beginning of this trip as the team is entering arguably their first hard stretch of the season. They don’t play too many teams that are finding early season success — even the Celtics and Bucks are hovering at or below .500 with 7-7 and 6-8 records, respectively — but the Lakers have played 12 of their 15 games at home so far as the road aspect will be the true test of this team.
Lakers should probably consider themselves lucky that LeBron may be returning. We probably won’t see him Wednesday, but expect him back for the rivalry game on Friday.