Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will miss the team's upcoming road trip to Oklahoma City and Houston as he continues to recover from a strained left groin, his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told ESPN on Tuesday.
James was re-evaluated on Wednesday, which is the three-week mark since he injured his groin against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. After the re-evaluation, the Lakers announced James was cleared to return to practice next week.
LeBron James will not travel with the team on the upcoming two-game road trip and has been cleared to return to practice commencing next week.https://t.co/YwAcvuqEza— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 16, 2019
The Lakers have not yet ruled out James for their rematch with the Warriors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday (10:30 ET, TNT). Coach Luke Walton said he was "encouraged" by James' level of play during practice on Tuesday.
"He didn't do the up-and-down stuff, he did the half-court shooting and passing," Walton said after shootaround. "I just know he seems to be in good spirits. He's got another test tomorrow to get some more information on it.
"I think we'll get good news back."
The injury has proven to be one of the most significant of James' career. If you include this week's games against the Thunder and Rockets, James will have missed 13 games because of the injury. Prior to this stretch, James had never missed more than 13 games in a row during his 15-year NBA career.
The Lakers and James, who turned 34 last month, are being prudent with this injury to a star famous for playing through all types of physical ailments, both major and minor. He has never missed a playoff game despite innumerable minor knocks, and he played in all 82 games for the Cavs last season while leading the NBA in minutes played in both the regular season and the postseason.
Before his injury, James was off to yet another outstanding start in his first season with the Lakers, who are a playoff contender after missing the postseason in a franchise-record five consecutive years.
James is the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer with 27.3 points per game along with 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists. The Lakers (24-21) began Wednesday in eighth place in the Western Conference standings after beating Chicago on Tuesday night to improve to 4-7 in James’ absence.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.