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Report: LeBron James to be re-evaluated in 1 week

LeBron James, Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is slated to be re-evaluated in one week after suffering a groin strain in the third quarter of a Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

James has now missed the Lakers’ last four games, as his teammates have gone 1-3 without him in the lineup.

A re-evaluation for another week will have him miss four more games, including Friday night’s home game against the New York Knicks, putting his soonest return out until Jan. 11 against the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers will play it carefully with James, hoping to avoid a re-injury; but they will have to gauge the critical state of a tight Western Conference race, as Los Angeles (21-17) has gone from fourth to eighth place in the West, hanging onto the playoff picture by only two games’ difference over the 19-19 Sacramento Kings.

A Lakers staffer told Bill Oram of The Athletic before the start of the season that the Lakers’ playoff chances could be fragile, as it might take as little as The King missing 10 games for them to be out of playoff contention.

The margin of error could be even smaller, given that the West is in the tightest race in the last 20 years and James would have missed eight games by the time his re-evaluation comes along.

Los Angeles has winnable games this week, but they face a tough slate in the middle of January, taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets on the road, only to go home and face the Warriors again from Jan. 17-21.