LeBron James goes through another practice, doubtful for Thursday

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Thursday, January 31, 2019

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- LeBron James is officially listed as doubtful for Thursday's game against theLA Clippers, the team announced after previously ruling him out Wednesday.

If James remains out, it will dash the hopes of some within the Los Angeles Lakersorganization who viewed the matchup at Staples Center as a potential return date for James after his nearly five-week absence due to a left groin strain.

"He looked good today," Lakers coach Luke Walton said Wednesday of James. "He did practice. We kept practice short, with all the injuries we have and minutes guys are playing. But he did everything we had on the schedule and he looked good. He looked good two days ago in practice too. So, we'll see how he feels tomorrow and we'll take it from there. We'll keep prepping as if he's not going to play and hope that he's healthy enough to play."

Walton offered his update on James, leaving the door slightly ajar for a return, shortly before a team spokesman said James was out.

James suffered the injury Christmas Day at the Golden State Warriors and was initially given a timeline of three to six weeks for recovery, according to his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.

The Lakers have gone 6-11 with James sidelined, falling from the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference standings to two games behind the Clippers for No. 8.

Their next game after the Clippers is against the Warriors in Oakland, California, on Saturday. Then the Lakers return home for two days before embarking on a four-game, seven-day road trip through Indiana, Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

The Lakers could be even more short-handed for their hallway series against the Clippers, with both Kyle Kuzma (hip) and Josh Hart (knee) listed as questionable; Kuzma, however, reported improvement.

"My body's getting better," Kuzma said Wednesday. "Went through a full practice today. Full contact. Felt good. We'll see [if he will play] by game time."

Another question surrounding the second-year forward, beyond his playing status, is his future with the franchise. Since Anthony Davis' trade request went public Monday, Kuzma's name has been attached to potential trades for the New Orleans Pelicans star.

"This is my first go-around with that type of stuff," Kuzma said. "It's always a good thing when you hear trade rumors; that's what everybody always says. It means you have value, and that means that potentially you are going to be in this league a long time, people want you. For us, it's all about controlling what you can control, because at the end of the day, it's a business.

"You can't control your destiny in this league, but you can control your work ethic and how great you want to be. You can be great anywhere."

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