LeBron James responded well to participating in three-minute scrimmages but he will not play Tuesday when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers. The game will mark a 17th in a row James has missed, extending a career-long streak.
James joined the Lakers for shootaround, even sitting in on a film session which he’d previously halted while recovering from the groin strain suffered on Christmas. “He said he felt really good this morning. He did the full shootaround. He had been just going from the warmup into practice,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton explained.
“We didn’t have him in the film session because we didn’t want him to get tight. Today, he sat in on the pregame film session, came right out and still was able to do everything. Looked good.”
James was animated as he teamed up with Kentavious Cadlwell-Pope to compete against Rajon Rondo and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Miles Simon and Brian Shaw in a three-point shooting competition.
Although James continue to progress well in his recovery, the Lakers have not set any sort of expectation for his return, nor do they intend to do so. “My hope is that he continues to get healthy and he’s ready to play soon. When that is, we’ll take it. We’ve waited this long, we’re not going to rush him back now,” Walton said.
“Whenever he feels healthy enough to go is when that’ll be. I think he’s just happy to be back on the basketball court again because it’s been a while. Playing shooting games, even something that simple, is probably pretty fun for him right now.”
James’ next opportunity to return is Thursday, when the Lakers are the designated road team in a matchup with the Clippers. That marks the start of a six-game road trip that includes contests with the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and 76ers.
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