LOS ANGELES — LeBron James is progressing toward a comeback from his right foot injury, and there is increasing optimism that the Los Angeles Lakers star could return to play “a few” games in the final week of the regular season, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
James, who suffered a tendon injury in his right foot nearly 3½ weeks ago in Dallas on Feb. 26, has resumed on-court activity and is on a “gradual basketball movement progression,” the Lakers announced Thursday.
The Lakers’ final three regular-season games are all in Los Angeles, against the Clippers on April 5, the Phoenix Suns on April 7 and the Utah Jazz on April 9.
Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder said last week that James is participating in three training sessions a day in order to prepare his body for the return.
When asked for more details about the nature of James’ workouts, Lakers coach Darvin Ham simply said, “They’re intense and they’re going well.”
The Lakers are currently No. 10 in the Western Conference and occupy the final play-in tournament spot with nine games remaining.
They are only a game and a half behind the Golden State Warriors for the No. 6 seed, however, which would mean a guaranteed first-round berth should L.A. be able to elevate to that spot in the standings.
James was averaging 29.5 points on 50.1% shooting, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game prior to the injury — unprecedented production for a player in his 20th NBA season.
The Lakers have stayed afloat without him, going 7-5 since he was sidelined, including winning their past two games.