Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will not be with his team on Friday when they travel to Utah.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been without their number one option, LeBron James, since Christmas Day. On said occasion, the superstar endured a groin strain while on the road against the Warriors.

Certainly, it was not a very pleasant gift for the Lakers to receive. The ball club does not have nearly the same amount of talent in comparison to a group such as in Golden State.

Given James’ injury, the results of late have exposed this area of weakness. While the Lakers have won two in a row, they have won only three of their last eight chances.

This is not an ideal situation to be in considering that Los Angeles is desperately trying to secure a playoff spot this season.

Thankfully, sophomore Kyle Kuzma had a spectacular night versus the Pistons Wednesday night. In just three quarters, the young man scored an efficient 41 points, a career-high.

Kuzma’s performance was extremely encouraging to see because he did not perform well in his return from an injury Monday night.

Granted games like Monday’s are rare for Kuzma, explosions akin to Wednesday’s game are not going to happen all the time, either. It speaks to James’ obvious importance to this group. The big-time numbers are going to be there virtually every time LBJ plays.

Unfortunately, the Lakers are going to have to wait a little longer for James to return. Per head coach Luke Walton, No. 23 will not be with the team on Friday.

CBS Sports reporters Chris Bengel and DJ Siddiqi recently confirmed the rumors revolving around James. In fact, James’ groin injury is going to be given another look on Friday in Los Angeles.

Consequently, players like Kuzma will continue to need to elevate their game in view of James’ extended absence. It is imperative.

Alex Richards of Mirror Online transcribes that James is currently listed as ‘day-to-day’ by the Lakers’ medical staff. On a positive note, the 3-time champion reportedly took part in some shooting last week as well.

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However, there is a great level of concern about LeBron’s status. His injury may extend beyond the groin issue.

According to Mikael McKenzie of the Daily Express, the forward may have a hernia. If this alarming rumor is true, this would cause James to be out for at least another month.

Via Richards, the Ohio native does not intend to have surgery this season due to his desire to play as soon as possible.

Fans can only hope that Friday’s tests yield favorable results. Otherwise, the Lakers would be given quite a test of their own in having to be without James for an even longer block of time.

No matter what occurs, L.A. will need to continue to have their healthy assets step up in the short term. It will require a collective effort for the Lakers to remain relevant in the crowded Western Conference picture.

Next: 3 Lakers That Should Be Traded

The Lakers go into Friday’s matchup with a 23-19 record. They currently occupy the West’s No. 8 seed.

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