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LeBron James reverses course vs. Rockets

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LeBron James is out for the Los Angeles Lakers game against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, according to LeBron James.

He will be at Staples Center to celebrate the raising of the 2020 NBA championship banner with the fans.

The news comes as a surprise. The momentum for a mid-week James return has been building since last Friday, when head coach Frank Vogel said the organization would discuss a James return as soon as Sunday vs. the Phoenix Suns, though he noted that James facing the New York Knicks on Tuesday or the Houston Rockets on Wednesday — the final two home games of the regular season — was more likely.

Following Sunday’s win over the Suns, Anthony Davis hyped up James’ recent form in practice. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Vogel both echoed Davis’ sentiments.

On Monday, Vogel said that James was a full participant in practice, including 5-on-5 scrimmages. He remained steadfast that James’ status is purely determined by the day-to-day assessments of the superstar and the training staff.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that James was targeting Wednesday after first reporting on Monday that James would probably play vs. New York.

Unlike the rugged Knicks, the tanking Rockets seemed like an ideal opponent for James to ease back into form. Evidently, the four-time MVP determined that he wasn’t quite ready.

The Lakers injury report initially listed James as questionable vs. Houston. Davis is also out with adductor tightness.

James has missed the past five games after re-aggravating his ankle in the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors on May 2nd. It was just his second game back after missing 20 games — the longest absence of his 18-year career — with the high right ankle sprain he suffered on March 20.

The Lakers (39-30) have toughed out three wins since James went back to the sidelines, thanks to heroic efforts from Davis and a slew of role players. They currently sit no. 7 in the West and likely need to go 3-0 (with help) to avoid the play-in tournament.

Now, LeBron will get two extra days of rest before the Lakers complete their grueling season with a road back-to-back against the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans over the weekend.