Lakers’ LeBron James returns from injury, but ‘I don’t think I’ll ever get back to 100%’

It took LeBron James six weeks to heal his high right ankle sprain, and at 36 years old in his 18th NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers star suggested he will still have fights with Father Time.

“I know getting back to 100% is impossible. I’ll never get back to 100% in my career,” James said. “But I felt comfortable where I knew I could get on the floor and help my team win.”

James fell short of accomplishing that goal in Friday’s 110-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

He missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining and recorded five of the Lakers’ 21 turnovers. After finishing with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 32 minutes, James was honest about his ankle (“a little tight at times”), his conditioning (“pretty good”) and his overall performance (“okay”).

James’ return coincided with the Lakers (36-27) holding only a ½ game lead over the Dallas Mavericks (35-27) for the No. 5 playoff seed with nine regular season games left. After losing five of their last six games, the Lakers also have only a one-game cushion over the Portland Trail Blazers (35-28), who are ranked seventh in the Western Conference. If the Lakers fall to that, they would have to participate in a play-in tournament to reach the postseason.

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