The Los Angeles Lakers are built around two true superstars: LeBron James and Anthony Davis. After leading the franchise to an NBA title last year, the team lost both to injury weeks after the All-Star Break.
AD is back after missing 30 games with calf and heel issues. Even though the team struggled without him, going just 14-16 in his absence, his minutes are getting slowly ramped back up. He had a quiet first game back on Thursday, scoring four points on 2-of-10 shooting and adding four rebounds in 17 minutes.
Now, we could see LeBron return from his ankle injury relatively soon as well. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the team is preparing to have him back as early as next week.
"You'll see Anthony Davis still be on that 15-minute restriction in his second game back tonight, but that'll start ramping up as we get closer to LeBron James' return, which could be as soon as the following week," Woj said on NBA Countdown tonight. Davis and the Lakers are currently facing the Dallas Mavericks.
LeBron, who has been as durable as any NBA player in history, went out on March 20 with the high ankle sprain. The team is 7-10 since that game, a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
On the year, LeBron James is averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game.
The Los Angeles Lakers spent much of the early season in first place, but their spot in the competitive Western Conference race has grown precarious with their two stars on the sideline. At 35-24, the Lakers are now nine games out of first place, occupied by the 44-15 Utah Jazz, with the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets between them.
The Lakers lead the mavericks 58-46 at halftime of tonight's game. Davis leads the team with 12 points, tied with guards Dennis Schroder and Ben McLemore.