Walton Provides Update on LeBron James

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

LeBron James continues to progress towards a return to game action as he recovers from the strained groin that’s kept him out since Christmas Day, as on Monday, he ramped up his practice activity to include full contact scrimmages.

“He did more … we did some more up and down contact today, so the day before was half court contact, today we got up and down a little bit, did some short scrimmages. He did that, and we just got a bunch of shots up.”

The scrimmages were short, lasting three minutes, but were full go. LeBron remains listed as day-by-day, but Monday did represent the closest he’s gotten to replicating game action.

“It’s far … you’re not doing much more than that,” Walton explained. “We’ll see how his body responds to that, and from there we’ll take it as far as making those scrimmages longer, or if he says, ‘Hey I feel great, I’ll see if I can play,’ then we’ll make those adjustments.”

In short, Walton is prepping for Philadelphia as if he had the same available bodies as he did for Sunday’s win over Phoenix, which of course did not include the NBA’s leading All-Star vote getter, and if LeBron happens to feel great and is both cleared by the medical staff and thinks he can play, Walton will adjust accordingly.

He guessed there would be a minutes restriction when LeBron returns, but has not gotten so far as to discuss that with LeBron and the medical staff.

Walton said that James is moving well, getting into the paint and shooting jumpers, if not driving aggressively to the rim and looking for tomahawk jams at this point.

When the media was let in after Lakers practice concluded, James was bombing away from 3-point range, first around the line itself, and then from 5 to 10 feet beyond.

“He enjoys working on those – we don’t have that play in the playbook, but he looked good shooting them today.”

We know that Lonzo Ball will continue to be out for at least three to five weeks from this point with the sprained ankle, while Kyle Kuzma (sore hip) and Josh Hart (knee tendinitis) are question marks to play against the Sixers on Tuesday.

“Neither one of them practiced today, so we’ll see how they feel tomorrow,” said Walton. “Hopefully we can get them back for tomorrow’s game.”

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