The Los Angeles Lakers expect to reassess LeBron James' injured right foot in two weeks to see how much progress he has made, but the timeline for his return is expected to extend beyond that checkpoint, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
"He's going through the diagnostic process, the medical evaluation, it's ongoing," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said before L.A. lost 121-109 at the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. "So we'll wait and see what our people come back with."
James remained with the team on the road trip in Memphis. He sat on the end of the bench during the Grizzlies game while wearing a walking boot on his right leg. The Lakers will finish their three-game jaunt at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
The Lakers are 29-33 and one game back of the final play-in spot with 20 games remaining. Where the Lakers reside in the standings in two weeks could impact how soon it makes sense for James to return, sources said.
With just about five weeks remaining in the regular season, Ham was asked if James could end up missing the rest of the Lakers' slate.
"I don't want to speculate or jump to conclusions about anything; we'll let our medical people do their due diligence and go through the process with that," Ham said. "But I'll tell you this: As an organization, we're going to make sure we kick the tires on everything and look at everything that needs to be looked at, because never in a hundred, million years would we put a guy out there that has a risk of further damaging whatever is going on.
"And that's not just with Bron. That's any of our players. So, we're going to make sure, whatever decision is made, it's going to be the best for his health first and foremost."
James, 38, was hurt in Sunday's win at the Dallas Mavericks following a drive on Dwight Powell in the third quarter. James could be heard on the broadcast telling the Lakers bench, "I heard a pop," after he tumbled to the floor, and he was walking with a noticeable limp following the game.
James told ESPN's Katie George during an on-court interview after the contest that he thought he stepped on Powell's foot, causing the discomfort; however, replays showed it was a noncontact injury.
The 20-year veteran stayed in the game and finished off the victory, which could prove crucial as the Lakers fight for a playoff spot.
"I mean, he soldiered up," Ham said. "For him to continue on and be out there and be available for us fighting through that type of pain says a lot about who he is."
James also missed three consecutive games before the All-Star break because of left foot and ankle soreness. Since he arrived in Los Angeles, the Lakers have gone 36-63 (.364) when James has been sidelined, including 5-10 this season.
Troy Brown Jr. started in James' place against the Grizzlies. Despite committing 26 turnovers, leading to 41 Memphis points, the Lakers were able to hang tough with the Grizzlies, trailing by only four with 4:48 to go in the fourth before fading at the end against a Memphis team that is now 26-5 at home.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks
"We have more than enough to still win basketball games," Davis said. "And we have to. He's not coming back any time soon. So we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We can't put our head down and say, 'Oh, we miss Bron.'"
The Lakers' next four games are against teams above them in the Western Conference standings.
"We got to continue to play the right way, we got to continue to be together and we also got to continue on with the mission," Ham said. "The mission hasn't changed for us. So the goal of securing a playoff spot is still very much alive. It's unfortunate that Bron went down, but injuries are a real part of our sport and it's next man up. You got to step up and hold down the fort until he returns."