James returning to lineup for Lakers against Kings

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James will return to the lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers when they face the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

The four-time MVP has missed 20 games due to a high right ankle sprain. Coach Frank Vogel said that James had a workout earlier Friday and made the decision to return when he got to Staples Center. It will be James’ first game since March 20 against the Atlanta Hawks.

Vogel also said there would not be a minutes restriction on James.

“I would expect some rust, but that is the theme of this season with some guys having to return and work their way into shape during games,” Vogel said during his pregame availability. “He has been flying around the court during workouts but that is not the same as simulating intensity during games.”

Los Angeles — which has the fifth seed in the Western Conference at 36-26 — went 8-12 during James’ absence. They were also without Anthony Davis for 16 of those games.

The Lakers, who have 10 games remaining before the playoffs, have dropped four of their last five. James is averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 41 games.

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