LeBron likely to return vs. Knicks, sources say

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LeBron James will likely return for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks as his injured right ankle has been pain free after several days off, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Monday.

Head coach Frank Vogel said James was a full participant in Lakers practice on Monday but did not officially reveal his status for Tuesday’s game.

James missed six weeks due to a high right ankle sprain before a two-game return against Toronto and Sacramento. He then missed the next four games in an attempt to rest the ankle.

There is much more optimism on the state of the ankle after on-court work on Sunday and Monday, with James being able to make hard cuts and elevate, sources said.

L.A. is currently No. 7 in the Western Conference — a full game behind No. 6 Portland — with home back-to-back games against the Knicks and Houston Rockets and road back-to-back games against the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans remaining.

Because the Blazers own the series tiebreaker after a win against the Lakers last week, L.A. needs to go 4-0 with the Blazers splitting their last four games in order to avoid the play-in tournament.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

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