LeBron James 'Close' to Returning to Lakers from Injury, Says Dennis Schroder

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James watches from the bench as the team plays the Dallas Mavericks in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Dennis Schroder has indicated LeBron James is nearing a return with only a few weeks remaining in the regular season.  

"I mean, he's close," Schroder said, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic. "I can tell you that much. We're ready. We can't wait for him to get back to help us win games again and be together at the right time. Eleven games in and get to work."

James has been out since March 20 with a high-ankle sprain, and the team has provided few updates about his return.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on April 11 the superstar was on track to return in three weeks, which would put him back on the court at some point this week.  

The Lakers had also been without Anthony Davis for about two months due to a calf strain, but he returned to play the past three games. Adding LeBron back to the equation puts the team back close to full strength for the playoffs, which would once again make them a contender to win the title.

Los Angeles has gone 8-12 since the four-time MVP went down in the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks. The squad had entered that game with a 28-13 record.

The Lakers now have the fifth-best record in the Western Conference, creating a potentially difficult first-round matchup against the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last year's conference finals. If the team continues to lose games, it would be in danger of falling outside the top six and into the new play-in tournament. 

Extra games and no home-court advantage would make it difficult to repeat as NBA champions, which likely provides extra incentive for James to return to the court as soon as he is physically able.