Recent Lakers rumors have been about the possible return of LeBron James.

As we approach the trade deadline, there have been plenty of Lakers rumors about potential deals that might be made. However, the biggest story surrounding the Lakers is still the health of LeBron James.

On Christmas Day, James went down with a groin injury, and he has been out since. During that time, the Lakers have a record of 5-10. While the Lakers were in the fourth seed in the Western Conference at the time of James’ injury, they have fallen to ninth in the West now.

Even though the Lakers have dropped a lot in the standings, they are only two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth spot. In addition to James being injured, Rajon Rondo missed a lot of games due to injury, Kyle Kuzma missed a few, and now Lonzo Ball is out for 4-6 weeks.

Injuries have been a major storyline for the Lakers this season, and has resulted in them being just one game over .500 now. Recently, Brian Windhorst of ESPN talked about when James might return. Here’s what he had to say on The Hoop Collective.

“I heard (Thursday) seven to 10 days (for James’ return).”

If this timetable is right, James will not be playing against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday or the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. While the Lakers should be able to beat the Suns without James, defeating the 76ers will be a challenge without James.

While it appears James will miss those two games according to Windhorst, it would make a return against the Clippers a possibility on Thursday. This is certainly a big game for the Lakers, as they are looking up at the Clippers in the standings.

Next: 3 NBA Trade Deadline Scenarios for the Lakers

The game against the Clippers is the start of a six-game road trip for the Lakers, as if James doesn’t return then, he should be on the road trip. Luckily for the Lakers, it appears like the return of James is getting close. As one of the best players in the league, James can certainly help end the struggles that the Lakers have had without him.

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