LeBron James
LeBron James has missed 17 games due to a groin injury sustained on Christmas Day. In this picture, James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during warm up before the game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, Dec. 10, 2018. Harry How/Getty Images

It has been two weeks since LeBron James was given clearance to begin practice after sustaining a groin injury during the Los Angeles Lakers’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day but he is yet to return to the court.

The small forward’s agent Rich Paul made it clear that despite the practice clearance, James will not return until he is fully fit as they did not want to risk aggravating the injury. He has now missed 17 straight games since suffering the injury during which time the Lakers have dropped from fourth in the Western Conference to ninth.

James continues to be listed as out and could miss his 18th straight game when the Lakers take on city rivals Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. Moreover, it’s the Clippers who are occupying the final playoff spot in the Western Conference at the moment.

Coach Luke Walton revealed on Wednesday that James is looking good after taking part in all the practice sessions this week. Despite him being officially listed as out for the game on Thursday, the coach is keeping the door open for a surprise return.

"He looked good today," Walton said Wednesday of James, as quoted on ESPN. "He did practice. We kept practice short, with all the injuries we have and minutes guys are playing. But he did everything we had on the schedule and he looked good. He looked good two days ago in practice too. So, we'll see how he feels tomorrow and we'll take it from there. We'll keep prepping as if he's not going to play and hope that he's healthy enough to play."

James is not the only injury concern for the Lakers at the moment. Lonzo Ball is certainly ruled out of the game as he continues to recover from an ankle injury sustained earlier this month. Meanwhile, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart have also been listed as questionable for the game with hip and knee injuries respectively.

But Kuzma, who has been impressive this season alongside James, gave coach Walton a boost after admitting that he is feeling better after going through full-contact practice on Wednesday. The power forward, who is averaging 19.1 points and 5.9 rebounds, also addressed the possibility of him being part of a trade package that involves Anthony Davis arriving from New Orleans Pelicans.

"My body's getting better," Kuzma said. "Went through a full practice today. Full contact. Felt good. We'll see [if he will play] by game time."

"This is my first go-around with that type of stuff," the forward added talking about his future with the Lakers. "It's always a good thing when you hear trade rumors; that's what everybody always says. It means you have value, and that means that potentially you are going to be in this league a long time, people want you. For us, it's all about controlling what you can control, because at the end of the day, it's a business."