LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James will miss his fourth consecutive game on Wednesday, but he made some strides Tuesday in his recovery from a left groin injury.
James was shooting in front of coach Luke Walton during practice Tuesday in his most significant action since sustaining the injury on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.
“He’s working on his body, his game, himself all the time,” Walton told reporters. “But that’s the first time I’ve seen him shoot (since the injury).”
The team ruled James out of the Wednesday game against the Oklahoma City Thunder but continues to list him as day-to-day.
The Lakers are 1-2 without James, and swingman Lance Stephenson admitted the star’s absence has an effect on the team.
“It’s definitely tough because he’s very vocal,” Stephenson told reporters. “With him missing, it’s like everyone is quiet. You don’t know what’s going on the floor. But the games that we had (this week), I think we got better at it.”
The Wednesday contest has a bit of hype associated with it due to Paul George’s presence in town.
George, who broke into the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, grew up an hour north of Los Angeles and had long expressed a desire to return to the area.
However, the Pacers traded George to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2017, and he re-signed with the Thunder as a free agent in July 2018 while the Lakers signed James as a free agent.
“I wanted to play in L.A. That is where I wanted to go,” George told The Undefeated this summer. “Had that trade never went down, had I played one more year in Indy, I would have been in a Lakers uniform.”
Walton had little interest in discussing George.
“It doesn’t matter,” Walton said. “You prep yourself, you do your work and then whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. You don’t get too emotionally attached to it. We went after players, LeBron decided to come, Paul didn’t. That’s our team now. We’re very happy we have LeBron James on our team.” — Reuters