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James ruled out of Minnesota clash – Lakers

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By Agence France-Presse

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was ruled out of his team’s clash with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday as he works his way back from a groin injury.

Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters that while James, 34, had returned to training with team-mates, he would not be ready to return against Minnesota on Thursday.

“He got out there with the guys and did some drills,” Walton said.

“(He looked) good, strong, talented,” he added, before confirming James would not play Thursday.

James has been out of action since December 25, when he hobbled out of the Lakers’ victory over Golden State on Christmas Day.

Walton however did not rule out the possibility of James returning this weekend, when the Lakers host Phoenix at the Staples Center on Sunday.

“He’s not out yet, so I guess that puts him in play,” Walton said. “We’ll see how he’s feeling tomorrow morning and take it from there.

“See how he’s doing the next day, and the next day after that.”

Including Thursday’s game against Minnesota, James will have missed 15 matches, the longest injury layoff of his career since he started in the NBA in 2003.

The Lakers have lost nine of their 14 matches since James was injured, slipping from fourth to ninth in the Western Conference with 25 wins against 23 defeats.