Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said "there's a chance" superstar LeBron James will return to face the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
James returned from a six-week absence due to a right ankle sprain only to re-aggravate the injury after just two appearances for injury-hit NBA champions the Lakers.
There had been hopes that James would make his comeback against the New York Knicks on Tuesday or the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, but the four-time MVP missed both games.
The Lakers – who are seventh in the Western Conference and currently occupy a play-in position ahead of the playoffs – only have two regular-season matchups remaining and James is listed as questionable for the clash with the Pacers.
"We want to see how he feels in response to today's work, like always," Vogel told reporters on Friday. "But there's a chance that he plays if things go well."
James has been averaging 25.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game for the Lakers this season.
Through 43 games in 2020-21, James boasts a field-goal percentage of 51.3 – his best since 2017-18 and it is the same story regarding his three-point percentage of 36.6, which is his highest since that season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Anytime you've had guys that have been out for extended absences and they're returning to play, it's always going to be a little bit imperfect," Vogel said.
"So the more minutes you can get those guys, the better off it's going to be for us, in terms of the readjustment period. So if we're able to do that, that would be great."
The Lakers could also be boosted by the return of fellow star Anthony Davis for the Pacers showdown.
Davis, who did not practice on Friday, sat out the 124-122 win over the lowly Rockets midweek due to groin tightness.
"I feel fine. I feel great," Davis said. "Went through some things during practice, not everything, but got some work going on, got some work in on the side. So felt great, felt great today."