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Report: LeBron return from ankle sprain another three weeks away

The Lakers are currently the No. 5 seed out West, so LeBron James took to Instagram to predict changes coming to the Western Conference standings, but Michael Holley and Michael Smith aren't necessarily convinced.

The thunderstorm may be on the horizon, but it’s apparently not making land anytime soon.

LeBron James is not expected to return for another three weeks from his high ankle sprain, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ABC’s pregame show tonight before the Lakers vs. Nets game.

He added Anthony Davis is expected to miss another 10-14 with his calf strain and sore Achilles. Davis will be re-evaluated this week by the team medical staff this week.

On Instagram Thursday, LeBron hinted he and Davis could return sooner than expected and said a thunderstorm was coming. Players can be the worst source of a return timeline because their competitive nature wants them to push through and get back on the court fast. However, the Lakers and their medical staff have every reason to be patient and be sure their stars are healthy — L.A. is a top-heavy roster that is not going far in the playoffs without those two in peak form.

The Lakers have gone 4-6 without their two stars so far, with wins coming thanks to a defense that has remained in the top five in the league during that stretch. However, the Los Angeles offense has fallen off to bottom five without LeBron and AD, and starting Saturday against Brooklyn the schedule gets much tougher.

The Lakers currently sit as the five seed in the West, two games back of red-hot Denver as the four seed, but just 1.5 games ahead of sixth seed Portland and 2.5 games up on seven-seed Dallas (another team playing very well of late). If LeBron is out until close to the end of April, the Lakers could fall back to the seven seed and be in the play-in games, something the franchise wants to avoid.

The West could see some jockeying in the weeks leading up to the playoffs as teams look to avoid LeBron, Davis, and the rest of the Lakers in the first round.