LeBron James to return Thursday night against Clippers

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

"It's going to be a tell-tale sign of all the rehab, work, everything I've been putting in for the past five weeks".

If James remains out, it will dash the hopes of some within the Los Angeles Lakers organization who viewed the matchup at Staples Center as a potential return date for James after his almost five-week absence due to a left groin strain.

James called the 36-day absence some of the darkest days of his career. I want to see how my body reacts tomorrow.

"I haven't felt like this in a long time", he said.

Meaning, if the Lakers win tonight, they'll only be a game back of the eighth seed with a healthy James on the roster.

Savage arrested by ICE, which claims he's from the UK
I want to give back to the community, help the kids, get them uniforms, books, book bags, everything they need ... just do better. He apparently entered the US legally in 2005, but his visa expired and he reportedly is here illegally, according to TMZ .

Calling him "the greatest player on the planet", centre Tyson Chandler, who scored four points, hailed the 34-year-old James for "bringing his superpowers".

As James was easing his way into the game, Brandon Ingram again helped carry the Lakers early.

Without James in the lineup, the Lakers went 6-11 so it was certainly a boost to have the King back on the floor. Injuries have derailed the team in recent weeks, as James has been joined by Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball at different times in the sidelines. He gets guys in their spots to get easy buckets. He played more than he expected with the game going into overtime.

Lou Williams scored a team-high 24 points and Patrick Beverley added 17 for the Clippers, who shot just 53% from the free throw line.

Coming off of an All-Star snub, Clippers forward Tobias Harris is going to be motivated to play one of his best games of the season. We've got two home games. "You make contact with the head, it's a flagrant". I love clothes, I love suits but I didn't come here to put a suit on every day, I came here to put on a jersey and some shorts and lead a team the best way I know how. "So let's do it". When he sat during this game, the looks the Lakers got were more often hard ones.

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