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LeBron James (ankle) makes return vs. Pacers

The Lakers superstar has played in just 43 games this season, largely because of a nagging ankle injury.

From NBA.com News Services

LeBron James has returned from his ankle injury.

The Los Angeles Lakers have superstar LeBron James back in the mix for Saturday’s game in Indiana (1 p.m. ET, NBA League Pass).

Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters Saturday that James and point guard Dennis Schroder will be active. James’ return has been looming for a few days now, but he missed the Lakers’ last game as he continues to recover from a sore right ankle.

Anthony Davis is also active for the pivotal matchup.

On Wednesday, James confirmed via Twitter that he would not be playing in that game, which was against the Houston Rockets. The Lakers won, 124-122, despite having neither James nor fellow superstar Davis (groin) in the lineup.

“Getting close but I won’t be in the lineup tonight,” James tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. “But more importantly I will be there to put that CHAMPIONSHIP banner in the rafters at Staples Center in front of our fans!!”

Vogel had told reporters this week that James participated in a full practice on Monday, which included some time during a full-court scrimmage. Earlier reports on Tuesday indicated that James could return to the lineup against the Knicks or Rockets this week.

Injuries to James and Davis have stalled the Lakers after winning the 2020 NBA championship. James has played in just 43 games this season, with Davis appearing in even fewer (34). The Lakers have two games left in their season: at Indiana (May 15) and at New Orleans (May 16).

Los Angeles (40-30) is a half game behind Portland for the sixth seed in the Western Conference standings.

The Lakers need to win Saturday’s game in Indiana, win Sunday’s game in New Orleans and the Blazers to lose their season finale on Sunday to avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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