The Los Angeles Lakers provided an update on the progress of LeBron James from his groin injury Thursday, and it’s a mixed bag for fans.
Team medical staff examined James’ injury on Thursday and cleared him “to increase on-court functional basketball movements” while noting that he is progressing from the left groin strain he suffered on Christmas.
James’ timeline remains murky
The team also announced that another update would be provided on Jan. 16, indicating that he’s not expected to play for at least three more games.
The Lakers visit the Utah Jazz and have home games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls in the meantime. The most optimistic timeline would have James returning for the Lakers matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder next Thursday.
Difficult injury to forecast
Muscle strains like this tend to linger and be tricky to put a timeline on. On top of being a superb talent, James has been remarkably durable during his career, so there’s not much of a template for how he recovers from injuries.
The team listed James as day-to-day the day after he suffered his injury. Eight games later, and we’re still no closer to clarity on when he’ll return.
James started shooting with the team at practice last Tuesday. What exactly “on-court functional basketball movements” means is unclear, but it does indicate he’s gained some mobility since returning to the practice floor.
Lakers have struggled, fallen in standings
The Lakers are 3-5 without James and have struggled on offense in his absence. Prior to Kyle Kuzma’s 41-point outburst on Wednesday, the Lakers were 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency since his injury.
They’ve fallen to eighth place in a tightly packed Western Conference playoff race.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Cardinals clap back at ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith
• Coach gives Saints $225K reasons to be motivated
• MVP performance: Giannis outduels Harden
• Paylor: How Mahomes can help Chiefs avoid playoff flop