With the Los Angeles Lakers struggling to start the season, things only seemed to be getting worse when superstar LeBron James went down with a strained adductor muscle. Thankfully the Lakers were able to find a little rhythm without their leader and reel off a three-game win streak on the back of Anthony Davis, allowing head coach Darvin Ham and the staff to be extra cautious with LeBron getting back on the court.

But the question continues to be when James will return to the court as adding what he brings to the table, with the level Davis has been at could really allow for the Lakers to turn things around. And now it looks like a date has been set for that return.

During the Lakers’ contest against the Phoenix Suns, TNT’s Chris Haynes reported that James is expected to make his return in the Lakers’ next game on Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs:

James has not suited up since Nov. 10 when he left the court late with the adductor injury against the Los Angeles Clippers. He has missed five straight games, but thanks to Davis, the Lakers have gone 3-2 during that stretch. Now the team must figure out a way to continue that recent momentum once LeBron is back on the court.

James has been excellent this season, averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists. But with Davis playing at another level in the last four contests, many will be watching to see if he maintains that level of aggression with LeBron back on the floor, and James undoubtedly will do everything in his power to make sure Davis doesn’t let up either.

Even in his 20th NBA season, James remains one of the premier players in the league and the Lakers will no doubt be welcoming him back. With the team finally being at full strength, perhaps they can truly start building the necessary chemistry and get this season in order.

Gregg Popovich praises Lakers’ LeBron James for how he has dealt with criticism

Of course, LeBron is one of the greatest players in NBA history and dealt with a level of pressure from the moment he came in the league unlike anything anyone has ever seen. The criticism he has received throughout his career has been unfair at times and it is something that angered legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who recently praised LeBron for how he handled everything.

“If he made a pass, somebody said, ‘He should’ve shot it.’ If he shot the ball, it was, ‘He should’ve passed it.’ It really would anger me. They would just deal with the negative. It was a fake negative, in a way. The guy was doing everything great and handling himself great. Young kid with all of that attention and doing what he was doing.

“I just thought he was wonderful. It would just annoy me. Whenever I would be around him or whenever I had the chance, I would say it publicly. ‘Why don’t you guys talk to him?’ and ‘He did this; he did that.’ That’s what I remember the most — the way he handled himself in the middle of all of that. All of us, we don’t know what is to have that kind of attention and those kinds of demands.

“For something like him, I can’t even fathom. It was super.”

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