January 26, 2019 / 11:48 PM / 6 months ago

LeBron returns to Lakers' practice, ruled out for Sunday's game

FILE PHOTO: Jan 12, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; LeBron James of the LA Lakers attends the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - LeBron James returned to contact practice on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin strain more than a month ago but will still miss the Los Angeles Lakers’ game on Sunday, the National Basketball Association (NBA) team said.

The four-times NBA Most Valuable Player, who joined the Lakers in the offseason, suffered the injury during a Christmas Day win over the reigning champion Golden State Warriors and the Lakers have gone 5-10 during his absence.

James, 34, did not take part in the team’s scrimmage but was a full participant in defensive drills.

“It was the first time he’s been out there in the part of practice that involved that type of movement,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton told reporters. “He looked good. He’s still really good at basketball, in case you guys were wondering.”

James has led the Lakers in scoring this season, averaging 27.3 points in 34 games along with a team-high average of 8.3 rebounds per game.

The Lakers, who host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, are ninth in the Western Conference, two games back of the final playoff spot.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Clare Fallon

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