LeBron James (ankle) likely back for Lakers Friday vs. Spurs

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By jeenmediaa

SAN FRANCISCO — The Los Angeles Lakers started the final stretch of the season with a disappointing 128-110 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday but will “in all likelihood” have LeBron James back in the lineup on Friday, according to Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

For a team banking on a 39-year-old James to steady them, he has played just 14 minutes of game action in the last week and a half, and all of those came in the NBA All-Star Game — hardly a challenging athletic endeavor.

After missing the Lakers’ last game before the All-Star break because of a sore left ankle, James sat out again Thursday in order to rest the ankle after seeking treatment on it during the break, sources told ESPN.

L.A. hosts the San Antonio Spurs on the second night of a back-to-back for both teams. The Spurs lost 127-122 on the road to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.

“We’ll get an official word [Friday] morning and see, but in all likelihood, he should be out there tomorrow,” Ham said of James.

While James was missing in action on Thursday, the Lakers’ other star, Anthony Davis was missing his voice.

Davis woke up on Thursday morning with a sore throat, and his voice dissipated throughout the day. It got so bad that Davis, who finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks, could barely communicate with faint, raspy sentences while talking with Austin Reaves in the postgame locker room, let alone calling out defensive coverages as the anchor of L.A.’s backline.

“You’re not going to get through a game like this with that type of firepower with that type of head of the snake, in terms of Steph [Curry], without everyone talking and being alert and ready and doing our work early and being in position early,” Ham said. “It’s times when you have to give multiple efforts and you have to yell and communicate with your teammates.

“[Davis] having a little trouble with his voice tonight definitely impacted the game. My hat’s off to him. He still came out and did the best job he could under the circumstances. … It’s not just him. Everyone has to talk and cover for their teammates.”

It was just another challenge for a Lakers team still smarting from the absences of Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent for weeks already and now missing Christian Wood with swelling in his left knee.

“At the top of the list of us trying to get to where we’re trying to get to, we got to get healthy,” Ham said. “We got to get bodies back in the lineup.”

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