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LeBron James’ new return date from ankle injury

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is targeting a return for Wednesday’s matchup with the Houston Rockets.

“LeBron James is going to give that right ankle one more day of rest today vs. Knicks,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin reported on Tuesday afternoon.

The update confirms the Lakers’ official injury report released on Monday night for the New York Knicks game, on which James was listed as “OUT” for the Tuesday clash at Staples Center.

However, LeBron was also ruled out the night before the Lakers’ game vs. the Sacramento Kings on Apr. 30, only to call an audible and decide to give it a go hours before tip-off.

James’ tw0-game return after missing 20 games with a high ankle sprain didn’t go exactly as planned: the Lakers lost both contests against lottery teams, and James exited the second game — a home loss to the Toronto Raptors on May 2  — prematurely after experiencing what he described as “sharp pain.”

The Lakers (38-30) have gone 2-2 since James re-aggravated his high right ankle sprain, largely thanks to a heroic string of performances from Anthony Davis — including a 42-point two-way masterpiece against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

After the Suns win, AD, Frank Vogel, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each expressed their confidence in James’ form after seeing him progress behind the scenes in recent days.

In his off-day Zoom on Monday, Vogel revealed that James was a full participant in practice, including live scrimmaging, but no decision had been made on his return. Shortly after, Woj reported that a return for James vs. New York was “likely” and that the star’s ankle was “pain-free after several days off – and able to make hard cuts and elevate.”

Evidently (and prudently), James is opting to pass on sparring with Tom Thibodeau’s hard-nosed and playoff-bound Knicks group, who allow the fewest points in the league and play as hard and ruggedly as any team in basketball.

The Lakers currently sit in the No. 7 seed in the West and trail the Portland Trail Blazers by 1.5 games (plus tiebreaker) with four games remaining on their schedule.