Latest on LeBron James

Reports on LeBron James‘ return from a right foot tendon injury continue to point toward the playoffs — and likely no sooner.LeBron James

The latest comes from Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who joined Michael Scotto on the HoopsHype podcast and suggested there’s a chance that James likely won’t return before the final week of the regular season. If the Lakers make the play-in tournament or playoffs … well, then, maybe.

“It’s sounding like if he does, it’s probably going to be the last week or so of the regular season. You hear conflicting things,” Buha told Scotto. “This has been one of the tougher things to dig on. The Lakers have played this very close to the vest. There hasn’t been much out there on it.”

A day earlier, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuelTV that the Lakers are bracing for the idea that James may not return in the regular season at all.

Meanwhile, coach Darvin Ham told reporters Monday that everything is “going according to plan” when it comes to James’ injury. James was also seen shooting free throws before warmups for Tuesday’s road win over the Pelicans.

The Lakers (34-36) currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference. They haven’t sported a .500 record since January 2022, more than a year. But they are hoping some February trades can put them back on track, with 12 games to go.

James, 38, is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 47 games, having set the NBA’s all-time scoring record just before the break. Along with that, he is shooting 50 percent from the field and 31 percent on 3-pointers.

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