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Luke Walton Issues Latest Injury Update For LeBron James

lebron james looks onto the floor during a game

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench after he was hurt against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of their NBA Basketball game at ORACLE Arena on December 25, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

LeBron James has not played in a game for the Los Angeles Lakers since he suffered a groin injury against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. He appears to be getting closer to game action though.

James' workload in practice has been increasing lately, and he was able to participate in a short scrimmage yesterday. The next Lakers game is on Thursday night against their crosstown rival Los Angeles Clippers.

There is hope that James will return for that matchup, and the latest update from Lakers coach Luke Walton is encouraging.

Walton told the media today that while he doesn't think James is "going full out yet," he doesn't appear to be showing any noticeable discomfort.

James' return is crucial to the Lakers' playoff chances. They are currently 26-24 and in ninth place in the Western Conference, one-and-a-half games behind the Clippers for the final playoff spot.

James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game in his first season in LA. The Lakers are 6-10 in his absence.

Besides the impending return of LeBron, there are two other major story lines involving the Lakers right now. They are reportedly a factor in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, and there is a report that James and his associates want the franchise to move on from Walton.