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Lakers star LeBron James could return from ankle injury Friday vs. Kings

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (23) grimaces in pain after Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill lands on James' ankle during a game on March 20, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. James has been out of the lineup since that game. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (23) grimaces in pain after Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill lands on James' ankle during a game on March 20, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. James has been out of the lineup since that game. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 30 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who has been out since March 20 because of a high ankle sprain, could make a return to the lineup against the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

James had been listed as out for Friday's contest, but the Lakers announced earlier that afternoon that his status was upgraded to questionable. According to ESPN, the four-time NBA champion plans to test his ankle before the matchup and will be a game-time decision.

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If James is unable to play Friday, ESPN reported that he could return as soon as Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.

James suffered the ankle injury almost six weeks ago during a game against the Atlanta Hawks. Hawks forward Solomon Hill collided with James' lower right leg while trying to steal the ball from the 17-time All-Star selection.

At the time of the injury, the Lakers had the second-best record in the Western Conference, and the 36-year-old James was considered one of the front-runners for MVP.

The Lakers have lost four of their last five games and are 8-13 this season without James in the lineup. The four-time NBA MVP is averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game in the 2020-21 campaign.

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Los Angeles now sits fifth in the Western Conference standings with a 36-26 record. The Lakers have a one-game lead over the sixth-seeded Dallas Mavericks and a two-game advantage over the No. 7 Portland Trail Blazers with 10 games remaining in the regular season.

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