LeBron James and Anthony Davis will not play against the Utah Jazz on Thursday, but they could both be back in the lineup for the 10th-place Los Angeles Lakers when they host the ninth-place New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Davis will suit up against the Pelicans barring a setback with his injured foot, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. James hopes to join him and will test his injured ankle before making a decision, per ESPN.
James has missed two of the Lakers’ last three games. He didn’t play against the Philadelphia 76ers last Wednesday because of left knee soreness, and he sat out against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday with a sprained left ankle.
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Davis hasn’t played since suffering a mid-foot sprain on Feb. 16 in Los Angeles’ last game before the All-Star break. He has appeared in 37 games this season. In related news, the Lakers are 31-44, with a half-game lead on the San Antonio Spurs for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference. New Orleans is 33-43 and has won three of its last four games.
Los Angeles is coming off a 128-110 loss to the Mavericks in which it trailed by 30 points before halftime as many as 37 in the third quarter. It has lost four out of its last five games and 16 of its last 21.
On the Lakers’ official injury report, Davis is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game against Utah. James is listed as out.
If Davis and James are healthy enough to return against the Pelicans and they don’t miss any more time, the duo will have six games to try to find a rhythm before the play-in. After the Pelicans game, Los Angeles will host Denver, visit Phoenix, visit Golden State, host Oklahoma City (on the second night of a back-to-back), and visit Denver.
The Spurs, meanwhile, will host the Blazers twice, then visit Denver, visit Minnesota, host Golden State and visit Dallas.
San Antonio and the Lakers split their season series, and the Spurs hold the tiebreaker because they have a better record against Western Conference teams, as noted in Brad Botkin’s daily Playoff Picture. For James and Davis, these are desperate times.