LeBron James Back in Lakers Lineup vs. Pacers After Ankle Injury

LeBron James Back in Lakers Lineup vs. Pacers After Ankle Injury

James has missed the Lakers last six games with a high-ankle sprain.

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Lakes forward LeBron James returned to the lineup on Saturday against the Pacers.

In the first half, James scored 11 points and grab four rebounds in 15 minutes of action, including a ferocious one-handed dunk early in the game.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said that James will not have a minutes restriction but that the team will be responsible. The four-time NBA champ had missed the Lakers’ last six games with a high-ankle sprain injury and has played just two games since March 21.

Vogel said he has not decided if James will play in the Lakers’ season finale against the Pelicans on Sunday. James has not played since May 3, when he exited Los Angeles’s 121–114 loss to the Raptors midway through the fourth quarter with soreness in his right ankle. He initially sprained his ankle against the Hawks on March 20.

James is averaging 25 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season. He is on track to play in the fewest games in a regular season of his NBA career. The team is 12-15 without James this season. 

In addition to James’s return on Saturday, Anthony Davis returned to the court after missing the Lakers’ previous game against the Rockets with a sore abductor. Vogel told reporters that Davis was held out against Houston mainly due to the fact Los Angeles was on its second night of a back-to-back. 

Davis led the Lakers with 22 points off 7-of-11 shooting from the floor while grabbing eight rebounds in the first half against Indiana. 

Lakers guard Dennis Schröder –who finished with a three pointer in 15 minutes of action– returned to play Saturday after missing seven games due to health and safety protocols. 

The reigning NBA champs are 5–5 in their last 10 games and are looking to earn their fourth-straight win on Saturday.

Los Angeles (40–30) currently sits in the No. 7 spot in Western Conference. The Lakers are trying to avoid having to play in this year’s play-in tournament.

How Does the NBA Play-In Tournament Work?

Ahead of Saturday’s matchup, the Lakers would be in a potential play-in game with the Warriors. Los Angeles can move out of the No. 7 spot and earn the No. 6 spot if it wins its final two games and the Trail Blazers lose one, setting up a matchup with the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. 

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