LeBron James has progressed to “light work,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said on Monday, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN details. However, sources tell McMenamin that the star forward is still likely weeks away from playing again.
James hasn’t played since suffering a high-ankle sprain in a March 20 game. With less than a month left in the regular season, Vogel didn’t offer any prediction on when James might be available.
“Just trying to do a little bit more with his activity each day,” Vogel said.
The news is more encouraging on Anthony Davis, who may return this week after missing nearly nine weeks with a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg. Davis put in some “good work” on Monday, according to Vogel, and will “build up” for a possible return Thursday night at Dallas. Vogel added that Davis is working his way back into playing shape and won’t get his usual allotment of minutes right away.
“The biggest thing is conditioning right now,” Vogel said. “He’s healthy. But having not played and not really being able to ramp up his physical on-court activity over the last two months, it’s going to take some time before he gets his wind under him and obviously, that’s the biggest thing. Because if his legs aren’t under him, we don’t want him to be at risk for re-aggravation of the injury or another injury. We want to keep a close eye on that.”
The Lakers have been able to stay in the Western Conference playoff race without their two stars, currently sitting in fifth place with a 35-23 record. They are 14-15 since Davis’ injury and 7-8 since James got hurt.
“I don’t think we’re there yet, to be honest,” Vogel said when asked if the worst is over for his team. “I know I’m not, my coaching staff is not. Even when Anthony returns, it’ll be in short, limited minutes … We’re still in a stretch where we’ve got to compete and win games for the most part without those guys.”