LUKE Walton is pleased with LeBron James’ progress but the Lakers are not ready to field their superstar yet.
The Lakers shot down speculation the Los Angeles showdown will mark the return of ‘The King’ from injury, ruling James out for the game against the Clippers on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
Walton said James, who had started joining full contact practice days ago, looked fine although they continue to limit his minutes on the court.
The Lakers have scored only one win in the last five games and have gone 6-11 since James suffered the groin injury in the Christmas Day game victory against the titleholders Golden State Warriors.
The LA game is actually the start of a six-game road trip, with the Lakers set to battle the Warriors in Oakland on Sunday.
Walton’s Lakers next play at Indiana, Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta before returning home to face the New Orleans Pelicans.
Anthony Davis has demanded a trade from New Orleans, hoping to land at a title-contending team.