Lakers Rumors: LeBron James Could Return From Abdominal Injury 'Soon'

Doric SamNovember 15, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, talks with forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from a demoralizing loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 114-106 win to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. It looks like more good news is in store for Los Angeles.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin reports that Lakers star LeBron James is close to returning from an abdominal strain that has kept him out for the past six games.

"'Soon,' a source close to James told ESPN when asked about James' return timetable," McMenamin stated. "The source said James is 'progressing great' in his on-court workouts. However, Vogel said the 19-year veteran has yet to participate in a full practice or take part in contact drills."

The Lakers have gone 3-3 in James' absence and are now 8-6 this season. In addition to the disappointing 24-point loss to the 4-8 Timberwolves on Saturday, Los Angeles has lost to the 5-7 Oklahoma City Thunder twice. James didn't play in either game, as the Lakers gave up double-digit first-half leads in both of them.

Los Angeles forward Anthony Davis came out aggressively on Sunday, scoring 27 of his 34 points in the first half. He also grabbed 15 rebounds and had six assists in the victory.

"Anthony really imposes his will on this game," Vogel said after the game. "I think he, probably more than anyone, was unhappy with how last game unfolded and he was intent to impose his will."

Los Angeles got strong contributions from its role players. Malik Monk scored 16 points and Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington had 15 points apiece. Star point guard Russell Westbrook added 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven dimes.

The Lakers were also boosted by the return of Talen Horton-Tucker, who scored 17 points in his first game of the season after undergoing surgery to repair ligaments in his right thumb during training camp.

The return of James would be a welcome addition for Los Angeles, which is embarking on a tough stretch of games. The Lakers will have a quick turnaround and face the Chicago Bulls on Monday. They will then go on a five-game road trip with matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.