LeBron James
LeBron James has missed two of the last three games for the Los Angeles Lakers. In this picture, James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after passing Michael Jordan and moving to #4 on the NBA's all-time scoring list during the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center in Los Angeles, March 6, 2019. Robert Laberge/Getty Images

All the talk about LeBron James being shut down for the rest of the season owing to Los Angeles Lakers being ruled out of contention for a post-season place seem unfounded with Luke Walton admitting that he could return to the squad Friday. He missed the previous game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to a groin strain.

The three-time NBA champion has missed two of the Lakers’ last three games owing to groin soreness and the coach deciding to give him additional rest. It took James’ tally to 20 games missed in his first season with the Lakers, which included 17 straight due to a groin injury.

James’ minutes are certain to be limited going into the final 11 games of the regular season as the Lakers will be keen to enter the offseason with limited injured players, but it is unlikely to be a shut out for the 15-time All-Star. The Lakers have gone 1-9 in March and they will be keen to improve their form despite their playoff light being extinguished.

The 34-year-old was a half participant in practice Thursday and Walton confirmed after that James is likely to be ready to take the court on Friday when they welcome the Brooklyn Nets to the Staple Center. It is their first game back at home after a four-game road trip that saw them win their first game of the month against the Chicago Bulls but lose to NBA’s worst team this season – New York Knicks.

“Yeah, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but I think he’ll go tomorrow,” Walton said after practice, as quoted by Lakers Nation. An official update from the team is likely to come just prior to the game on Friday night.

The Lakers have nothing really to play for at this stage of the season and their final 11 games will see them face five teams heading to the playoffs. It also includes a match with the Golden State Warriors, whom the Lakers beat in December when playoff picture looked rosy with James and co sitting in fourth place – now the tide has turned.

Meanwhile, the Lakers have made a new addition for the final games of the season after they confirmed the signing of Scott Machado on a 10-day contract. The point guard was playing for the South Bay Lakers and averaged 25 points, 14.7 assists and 7.6 rebounds in his team’s last three wins.

Machado has been around the globe during his basketball career spending time in France, Estonia, Germany, and Spain apart from his four-year stint in the G-League. He admitted that playing at the highest level has always been a dream while calling it his “happy place.”

“I love this game,” Machado said, as quoted on the Lakers’ official site. “To be at the highest level is something I think everyone that plays the game of basketball wants to be at. For me, this is my happy place — a happy place to be in the NBA, happy place to be playing basketball, period.”