The LeBron James injury updates have been a roller coaster ride for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. One minute, it looks like LeBron will get an evaluation and possibly be preparing to return and the next he is suffering a slight relapse and isn't close to returning yet. The latest news, this time straight from the mouth of Lakers head coach Luke Walton, is very discouraging for a team that is on the verge of falling below the bubble in the Western Conference ratings.

Latest LeBron James injury update

The Los Angeles Lakers have been reevaluating him every week since his injury but the LeBron James injury update news that broke today was discouraging.

Head coach Luke Walton said that LeBron made some shots and passed the ball around in halfcourt situations but this is the most that he has done since his severe groin injury at Christmas.

According to Nate Duncan of NBACast, it sounds like LeBron James isn't even working on his movement stuff yet, which means that he isn't ready to think about returning to the game yet.

According to reports, he won't travel with the Lakers to the next two games but will be reevaluated before their next game on January 21. The opponent for the Los Angeles Lakers in that game will be the Golden State Warriors.

Why this LeBron injury update is bad news

So, what makes this LeBron James injury update bad news for the Los Angeles Lakers? It has everything to do with the team's record and their upcoming schedule. See, the next two games -- the ones that LeBron is guaranteed to miss -- are against the Oklahoma City Thunder (ranked third in the Western Conference rankings) and Houston Rockets (have moved up to fourth in the Western Conference rankings).

Los Angeles used to be fourth in the Western Conference rankings before the LeBron James injury. Since that injury, they have lost seven of their last 10 games and are now tied with the Utah Jazz on the bubble spot in the Western Conference rankings. If they lose either of their next two games and the Jazz wins, the Lakers fall below the bubble line.

If they lose two and the Sacramento Kings win, they fall two spots below that line.

The Los Angeles Lakers need to win without LeBron James but they are not. They even lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers -- the team with the worst record in the NBA. When he finally returns -- whenever that will be -- they will have a huge hill to climb to get back into position to compete for playoff positioning.