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LeBron James’ return? Lakers star upgraded to doubtful

The Lakers say LeBron James is doubtful to play Sunday against Chicago, news that in a vacuum wouldn’t be considered progress.

Yet with James having been listed as “out” for every game the Lakers have played in the last month, the leap to “doubtful” is significant.

Earlier this week, the Lakers said James had begun a ramp-up with on-court work, and though Saturday’s classification signifies progress, it’s still unlikely he plays against the Bulls.

The designation is good news for the Lakers, who have won three consecutive games and have reached .500 for the first time this season after beating Oklahoma City on Friday in the Lakers’ 74th game.

Following the game with the Bulls in Los Angeles, the Lakers travel to Chicago to begin a five-game trip. That trip ends at Arena with a road game against the Clippers before the Lakers end the season by hosting the Suns and the Jazz.

The Lakers entered Saturday tied with Minnesota for the seventh-best record in the West, 1½ games behind the sixth-place Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers own a tiebreaker against Golden State.

This week, James shot down a reported timeline on social media that he’d return for the final week of the regular season, saying that he’d been working out three times a day in an effort to return.

In addition to James, the Lakers listed guard D’Angelo Russell as questionable and center Anthony Davis as probable for Sunday.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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