DALLAS (AP) –is still on track to end the longest absence of the eight-time All-Star’s NBA career as the open a four-game road trip with the first of two in Dallas.
Thestar was on the court for pregame workouts Thursday night, and coach Frank Vogel said he expects to start and play all of his 15 planned minutes in the first half.
LA plays the Mavericks again Saturday night. Fellow star LeBron James is still at least a couple of weeks of returning from an ankle injury.
has missed 30 games with right calf and heel issues. His previous game was Feb. 14 at Denver, when played just 14 minutes in a 122-105 loss that started a slide of five losses in six games.
“He’s going to need his get his legs under him as to be expected,” Vogel said. “You can’t simulate NBA action. That’s what tonight’s going to be about. That’s what the next few games are going to be about. This is an important first step for sure.”
Theare 14-16 since last played, and the defending NBA champions are fifth in the Western Conference. LA started the night three games out of fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The 28-year-old who’s in his ninth season has said he was worried about tearing his right Achilles tendon, which was part of the reason he was shut down and has been out for so long. Thewanted to make sure their star was completely healthy.
is averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. James has been out since March 20. The are 7-9 since both stars were sidelined.
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