Basketball

LeBron James starts in return for Lakers vs. Celtics

The Lakers are 4-6 overall this season without James, who has missed the last eight games with an abdominal injury.

LeBron James is back after missing the last eight games with an abdominal injury.

Following the Lakers’ 109-102 loss in Milwaukee, James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin he “hopes” to be ready Friday night as L.A. visits Boston (LIVE on ESPN) for their second matchup in a grueling five-game road trip. The 18th-year veteran slotted into the 4, between Talen Horton-Tucker and Anthony Davis; The Athletic’s Shams Charania was first to report James’ return.

The Celtics will be without one of their key players, though, as All-Star forward Jaylen Brown will miss the game because of a right hamstring sprain. Additionally, reserve guard Dennis Schroder (left ankle sprain) and center Robert Williams (left knee tendinopathy) are questionable against the Lakers.

LeBron James returns, but Lakers lose to Boston Celtics - Los Angeles Times

James, a four-time MVP, has played in just six games for the Lakers this season, averaging 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game.

Los Angeles also is missing Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn, who haven’t yet appeared in a game this season.

“It’s a part of the game,” said Anthony Davis, who scored 18 points for the Lakers against the Bucks. “Same thing with the team we just played. They’ve been hit with injuries as well. It kind of goes with the league, the business of the game. You go out there and put your body on the line every night, God forbid, something is going to happen in the course of a season. Someone’s going to get hurt. We’ve got to adjust and continue to fight until we get everybody back.”

While the Lakers await James’ return, they will continue to depend on the output of their other two superstars — Davis and guard Russell Westbrook — in hopes of bouncing back from Wednesday night’s loss.

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