Darvin Ham provides most optimistic update on LeBron James to date

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham provided an optimistic update on superstar LeBron James, saying that the team expects James back at some point this season.

This is great news for the Lakers, who have not had James in the lineup since he injured his foot in a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 26.

With the team currently holding the No. 11 seed ahead of Sunday night’s game against the Orlando Magic, the Lakers may need James to make a play-in tournament push this season.

James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has appeared in 47 games for the Lakers this season and is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game while shooting 50.1 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc.

He’s missed 24 games for the Lakers in the 2022-23 campaign, and the team has struggled when he’s been out of the lineup. The Lakers are just 10-14 in games that the four-time champion has missed this season.

Until James is able to return, Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell are the two lead dogs for the Lakers offensively.

However, this update is a good sign for Los Angeles’ chances of getting into at least the play-in tournament field. If James is able to return in the regular season, the Lakers could rattle off a few wins in a row to make a leap in the standings.

Los Angeles needs to get back on track on Sunday, as the team suffered two frustrating losses to the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in its last two games. The Dallas loss came with Luka Doncic out, and it took a Maxi Kleber 3-point shot at the buzzer to beat the Lakers.

With just 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Lakers don’t have a lot of time to make up ground, so a losing streak is the last thing the team needs.

Injuries have been a thorn in James’ side the last few seasons. An ankle injury cost him a good chunk of the end to the 2020-21 campaign, leading to the Lakers ending up in the play-in tournament.

Los Angeles lost in the first round of the playoffs that season, but the team is hoping for a different result this time with James on track to return this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.