"Getting close but I won't be in the lineup tonight but more importantly I will be there to put that CHAMPIONSHIP banner in the rafters at Staples Center in front of our fans!!" he said on Twitter on Tuesday.
Anthony Davis will also not play the Rockets after experiencing tightness in his left adductor Tuesday night. The Lakers downgraded both to "out" four hours before tip-off.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel had said there was "sort of a soft plan" for James to return against the Rockets. James was a full participant in practice Monday.
James missed six weeks because of a high right ankle sprain before a two-game return against Toronto and Sacramento. He then missed the next five games in an attempt to rest the ankle.
James visited an ankle specialist last week, sources told ESPN, and he has made considerable improvement in his on-court workouts without experiencing the "sharp pain" he reported in the losses to the Raptors and Kings. He previously had difficulty making hard cuts and elevating, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Lakers will raise their 2020 championship banner Wednesday, with about 3,000 fans expected to be in attendance.