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Report: Lakers hoping LeBron James can play vs. Clippers but will depend on how body reacts to practices

LeBron James, Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are hopeful star forward LeBron James can take the court on Thursday against the L.A. Clippers, though his status for the game will depend on how his body reacts to practices over the course of the next few days, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.

James has now been out for more than a month with a strained groin, missing 16 games in the process — the longest he’s ever dealt with an injury throughout the 16 years of his NBA career.

The Lakers have dropped from fourth place after a rousing win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day to ninth and out of the playoff slate, now two games behind the Clippers for the eighth and last spot in a very tough Western Conference.

Getting James back for this game could be the start of a turn of the tide, as a win over the Clippers would shave a full game off their lead and potentially put the Lakers that much closer to the playoffs once again.

The third and eighth spot are only separated by 3.5 games, making it of utmost importance for the Lakers to quickly get back into the race, now having reached the 50-game mark in the season.

James will miss Tuesday’s showdown against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday before team doctors decide if it’s indeed time to trot him back out there after a month-long absence.