Lakers Rumors: LeBron James' Return from Ankle Injury vs. Knicks Is 'Likely'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James directs the offense against the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 30, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is "likely" to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the New York Knicks after going through on-court work on Sunday and Monday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported there's "much more optimism" regarding James' status after the workouts, adding that "James was pain-free after several days off" and was "able to make hard cuts and elevate."

Earlier Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported James was targeting Tuesday's game for a return.

Of note, James was listed as "out" for Tuesday's game on Monday's injury report. However, Jovan Buha of The Athletic pointed out James has previously played in a game after being listed as out:

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

The Lakers are listing LeBron James as out for tomorrow’s game against New York. For what it’s worth, he was listed as out the day before his return against Sacramento.

James has missed 24 of the Lakers' last 26 games with a high ankle sprain. After sitting out 20 games, he returned for contests against the Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors before missing the last four.

The 2020-21 season has been the most injury-plagued of James' career. He was playing at an MVP level before suffering the injury in March and is averaging 25.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.8 assists this season.

L.A. has faced significant injury issues as James and Anthony Davis have both missed large chunks of time. Their absences have marred the Lakers' attempt at defending their NBA championship, and they enter Monday as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

There is no chance at a Lakers repeat without James in the lineup. His health is paramount on both sides of the floor.

The Lakers need LeBron at 100 percent as the regular season draws to a close.