The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to trickle upward in the Western Conference standings as the regular season winds down, and they need all the help they can get.
LeBron James has been out for almost three weeks with an injured right foot, and although he doesn’t appear to be close to returning, he is doing all he can to speed up his recovery. He is apparently going through intense workouts three times a day and progressing “according to plan.”
“LeBron James is doing three sessions a day to work towards a comeback from his right foot injury.” – @mcten
Bron knows what a championship team looks & feels like. He knows his championship window is closing. He knows the West is wide open. He’s all in. AD’s all in. It’s time. pic.twitter.com/vWYqvVObIB
— 🦉 Lakers Vino (@VinoUncorked) March 17, 2023
Darvin Ham said LeBron James’ three-a-day workouts have been “intense” and “they’re going well.” Ham added he had a chance to sit with LeBron this morning at shootaround.
“Everything is going according to plan,” Ham said.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 18, 2023
James got hurt on Feb. 26 in the second half of a road win over the Dallas Mavericks. Although his mobility was constrained as a result, he remained in the game and played very well in the fourth quarter to deliver a victory for L.A.
Without him, the team has played well at times, but it has also dropped a few games that it clearly should’ve won. One of those games took place on Friday at home against the Mavs.
The Lakers were up by four in the closing seconds, but Anthony Davis fouled Maxi Kleber while he shot a 3-pointer, allowing Dallas to come to within one. Davis then missed a free throw at the other end, and on the final play, he inexplicably left Kleber open, allowing him to drain the game-winning trey off a pass from a covered Kyrie Irving.
Lakers lose at the buzzer pic.twitter.com/PJ3RY1h7IK
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) March 18, 2023
Although the Purple and Gold are still two games out of sixth place, they have now fallen to 10th place in the West. The door is still open for the Lakers to make the playoffs, but it is starting to close.
Trying to win with James injured is part of the blessing and curse of having him. He fills up the stat sheet like no other player, and therefore, when he is unable to play, his team misses a massive amount of scoring, playmaking, pace and leadership.
The Lakers can make up some of those points and even some of his facilitating, but his leadership is nearly impossible to replicate.