The Los Angeles Lakers have been conservative with LeBron James, but head coach Luke Walton said his star player will take the court Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets, according to Mike Trudell of the team's official site.
The Lakers enter Friday on the brink of elimination with a 31-40 record and 10.5 games back of the final playoff spot. A loss against the Nets would seal the team's fate as a lottery team.
Los Angeles seemingly hasn't cared about making the playoffs for the past few weeks, losing nine of 10 games since the start of March.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported earlier this month the team's plans to begin putting James on a minutes restriction. He has sat out two of the last three games and hasn't played more than 35 minutes in any of his last five appearances.
On the plus side, the Lakers have fallen far enough down the standings that they are now in the hunt for a top pick in the NBA draft. According to Tankathon, the team currently has a 3 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall selection and a 13.9 percent shot of a top-four pick.
Still, the team remains mathematically alive for a playoff spot, and James will seemingly do what he can to keep the narrow hopes of a comeback intact.
Additionally, the fans at the Staples Center will get an opportunity to see the superstar in the team's first home game after a five-game road trip.