LeBron James not ready for Lakers return

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LeBron James remains sidelined and will not travel with the Los Angeles Lakers on their two-game trip to face the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.

James has been out since suffering a strained left groin on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.

The 34-year-old picked up the injury midway through the third quarter of the Lakers' over the Warriors, and underwent an MRI scan the following day.

He has missed the last four Lakers matches as a result, and will be absent for Friday's clash with the New York Knicks as well as their upcoming away trips.

"[James] is receiving daily treatment by the team's training and medical staff and continues to progress with his recovery," the Lakers said in a statement.

"He will not travel on the team's upcoming two-game road trip and will be re-evaluated in one week."

Even if he is deemed healthy in a week and is able to play on January 11 against the Utah Jazz, he will have missed eight games.

The Lakers then face James' former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, at home on January 13.

Los Angeles signed James to a four-year, $153.3million contract in June. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.