LeBron James Upgraded to Questionable for Lakers' Game vs. Celtics amid Injury Rehab

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 18, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James during an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has been upgraded to questionable for Friday's matchup with the Boston Celtics as he looks to return from an abdominal strain, per Bill Oram of The Athletic.

James, a four-time NBA MVP, has been hampered by injuries during the early stages of the 2021-22 campaign, playing just six of L.A.'s 16 contests. He's missed time with both a sprained ankle and the abdominal strain after being limited to 45 appearances last season because of groin and ankle injuries.

The 36-year-old forward has been his typically productive self when healthy, averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals across six appearances this season.

L.A. has posted a 4-6 record in games he's missed so far in 2021-22.

Carmelo Anthony typically receives the biggest uptick in playing time when James is sidelined, especially when the Lakers are leaning on small-ball looks. Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington and Malik Monk are options for more minutes on the wing in traditional lineups if James is unable to play on Friday.

The Lakers (8-8) have the talent to contend for another NBA championship if they can keep up in the Western Conference and all of their key pieces are healthy come playoff time. Injuries derailed their title defense last year, however, and it's possible that could happen again if James can't put his recent injury woes behind him.