Report: LeBron James To Make Surprising Early Return From Injury

The Los Angeles Lakers without LeBron James is like... Russell Westbrook without the triple-double; like the Golden State Warriors without Steph Curry; like Kyrie Irving without controversy. One doesn't go without the other. 

So when word spread earlier this month that LeBron's latest injury—an abdominal strain—could keep him out for 1-2 months, Lakers followers were understandably stressed. Now, according to NBA insider guru Adrian Wojnarowski, there's "growing optimism" that James could return sooner than expected—as soon as this Friday, against the Boston Celtics. 

King James has missed 7 games in his latest absence (and another 2 earlier in the season with a sprained ankle), but he's nearing closer to a return, as coach Frank Vogel says he's resumed individual workouts this week, and is "looking good."

The Lakers are 4-5 without LeBron in the lineup this season, and 4-2 with him.

Perhaps most troubling, is that after rarely missing time due to injury in his first 15 seasons in the league, the last four years have seen James miss plenty of action with injury. The soon-to-be-37-year-old might just be mortal, after all.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports