Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who has been sidelined for over a month with a high-ankle sprain, may return to the court next week, per a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on NBA Countdown on Saturday (h/t Justin Benjamin of Lakers Daily).
"You'll see Anthony Davis still be on that 15-minute restriction in his second game back tonight, but that'll start ramping up as we get closer to LeBron James' return, which could be as soon as the following week," Wojnarowski said.
James suffered the sprain when Hawks forward Solomon Hill accidentally rolled into the Laker star's ankle as the two competed for a loose ball early in the second quarter of a March 20 game, which Atlanta won 99-94. James stayed in the game briefly and even hit a three-pointer post-injury but soon left and did not return.
The four-time NBA MVP and four-time NBA champion has averaged 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game for the Lakers, who are 26-13 with him in the lineup and 9-11 otherwise. L.A. is 35-24 overall, good enough for fifth in the Western Conference as it searches for back-to-back NBA titles.
L.A. is getting healthy at the right time, as Anthony Davis (right calf strain) returned to the lineup Thursday. As Wojnarowski noted, the eight-time All-Star is playing on a minutes restriction.
The Lakers will face the Dallas Mavericks on the road Saturday. Next week, they'll stay on the road for matchups against the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards before returning home for a three-game swing from Friday through Monday, May 3, against the Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets.
Based on Wojnarowski's timeline, it's possible James' first game back will be played in front of Staples Center fans after they were allowed back into the venue on April 15 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.