LeBron James is nearing the end of the road back to action.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced Wednesday on their website the superstar forward has been cleared to return to practice next week and presumably soon will be available to play NBA games shortly thereafter. But the Lakers’ announcement rules him out of their next two games, at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday and at the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
“LeBron James was evaluated by team medical staff and physicians today,” the Lakers’ statement reads. “James, who will not travel with the team on the upcoming two-game road trip, has been cleared to return to practice commencing next week, and progress towards a return to game play thereafter.”
James strained his groin on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors. An MRI showed he suffered no significant damage, but the Lakers have approached his recovery with caution because this is the first such injury of his career.
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon points out James is on the verge of an unwanted personal milestone.
The Lakers are 4-7 in his absence and currently sit eighth in the Western Conference standings with a 24-21 record.