Coach

LeBron James' Status Upgraded to ‘Doubtful' for Lakers at Clippers

Asked whether James could possibly come off the bench, Walton quickly responded to the seemingly ridiculous question with a smirk, "No, if he plays, he will start."

LeBron James has already missed 17 games in a row due to a groin injury suffered on Christmas Day, and the superstar was expected to miss Thursday's rivalry game between the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers as of Wednesday afternoon.

At Thursday's shootaround, however, James' status was updated to "doubtful" after the 34-year-old could be seen smiling and in good spirits at the conclusion of the morning session.

"We went through shootaround, (James) looked good but still listed as 'doubtful,'" Lakers coach Luke Walton said.

Walton said that the team would prepare for Thursday's game expecting James would not be available, which has been the standard operating procedure for the Lakers for more than a month.

Walton said that he doesn't make any of the determinations on James' status and that the player looked good to him the last couple days, so he couldn't speak directly to the change in status.

Asked whether it may make sense to shut down James for the All-Star break rather than bringing him back if he's cleared, Walton seemed to signal that he preferred the latter.

"I'll be excited for whenever they let me have that player back," the coach said, referring to James.

Minutes restrictions and conversations along those lines appeared to be a tad premature, according to the coach.

Asked whether James could possibly come off the bench, Walton quickly responded to the seemingly ridiculous question with a smirk, "No, if he plays, he will start."

Other Injury Notes:

Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma both went through shootaround. Hart has been struggling with knee tendinitis, while Kuzma has missed a couple games in a row due to a hip strain.

"Kuz actually looked like he was moving better than Josh was," Walton said at Thursday's morning shootaround.

However, the coach ceded that the the training staff would make the ultimate call on the status of both players.

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