With LeBron James missing in action for another game, the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping their superstar can return soon. LeBron has now been out of the lineup since a groin strain he suffered on Christmas Day. Since that, his team has suffered, as they've been unable to string together necessary wins. Below are more details on LeBron's injury update and potential return as the Lakers keep struggling.

Lakers have lackluster effort, loss on Sunday

Sunday (January 7) was another rough night for the Lakers and their fans.

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Los Angeles dropped a key road game, 108-86, to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves led 35-19 after one quarter and were up 64-45 at the half. Lance Stephenson came off the bench to finish with 14 points in the losing effort, while starters Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart scored 14, and 10, respectively. Previous Brandon Ingram trade rumors suggested the Lakers might trade him for three players, and one has to wonder if that move would help in terms of veteran scoring help.

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As a team, L.A. shot just 32-of-87 for the game to finish at under 37 percent. The Lakers dropped to 21-19 with the loss and 1-5 without LeBron. They were outrebounded just 50-48, but clearly, the shooting and scoring weren't there. In fairness, Kyle Kuzma, who has been a nice secondary scorer to LeBron, is also out of the lineup due to a back injury.

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Following the loss, head coach Luke Walton said of his players, "They're trying but they're young. We need more passion, we need more fight." That's probably something that is lacking quite a bit due to LeBron James' absence from the lineup.

LeBron's injury situation, return timetable

In a previous report, LeBron James' return against Detroit was giving fans hope for this week. However, as of Friday (January 4), LeBron was ruled out for the Lakers' game against the New York Knicks.

In addition, he was listed as unable to participate against the Minnesota Timberwolves or Dallas Mavericks, two teams the Lakers had on the road schedule. The Mavericks game is their next contest, scheduled for Monday night.

At the time of that news that LeBron James was going to miss those three games, it was also revealed he'd be "re-evaluated in a week." So that means he's ruled out for that key game this Wednesday (January 9) against the Detroit Pistons.

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Lakers fans are hoping that his prognosis will allow him to return to the court soon, as they certainly don't want to fall too far out of playoff contention.

The reports would make it seem that LeBron James is due back around January 11 or later. The Lakers will be at the Utah Jazz on Friday (January 11), with a home matchup looming against LeBron's former team, the Cleveland Cavs, on Sunday (January 13). The Cavs game may be one LeBron wants to be on the court for, although, it seems winnable without him in the lineup.

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It's obvious the Los Angeles Lakers aren't going to risk their season and the NBA playoffs on rushing the King back to the court. That said, someone will need to start igniting some better efforts, or this team is going to have a lot of ground to gain when James finally returns.

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