LeBron James will miss at least another three games as he continues to recover from a groin strain he picked up during the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.

The 14-time NBA All-Star was not expected to be sidelined for a lengthy period after initial diagnosis confirmed that there was no serious injury, but he has missed the Lakers’ last eight games. Luke Walton’s side are 3-5 without James and will have to make do without him for at least three more games, which are against the Utah Jazz, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls.

James was assessed by Lakers medical staff on Thursday and it was revealed that the healing of the player’s groin was making good progress. He was given clearance to increase his on-court participation.

“LeBron James was evaluated by team medical staff and physicians today. The healing of James’ groin injury is progressing and James has been cleared to increase on-court functional basketball movements. A further update will be provided on January 16,” a statement read from the Lakers.

The three-time NBA champion will be assessed again next Wednesday before the LA franchise’s game against Oklahoma City Thunder the following day. There is a chance that he could miss the game against Russell Westbrook and co. if he is not 100 percent fit.

According to ESPN, James is not willing to risk aggravating his injury by rushing his return and the small forward is said to be ready to miss multiple weeks in order to ensure he makes a comeback only when he is fully fit.

Coach Walton, however, will be hoping that James returns sooner rather than later as his team have struggled without their talisman. The Lakers were fourth in the Western Conference before his injury, but have now fallen to eighth place.

The team have found scoring difficult in his absence and were 29th in offensive efficiency in the NBA since James’ injury. But they were given a ray of hope that they can survive without the small forward after Kyle Kuzma delivered a career-high 41 point game during the Lakers’ win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Rajon Rondo is the other major casualty for the Lakers, but the veteran point guard remains out in the long-term after undergoing a second surgery this season to rectify a hand injury, also suffered during the win over the Warriors.

JaVale McGee, meanwhile, revealed after the game against the Pistons that he is finally feeling fully fit after recovering from an upper respiratory infection that kept him out for longer than expected.

“I’m getting back to my normal, super hyperactive self,” McGee said after Wednesday's win, as quoted on Silver Screen and Roll. “I’m just feeling good, so I’m really excited about it.”