LeBron James back in full-contact drills at Laker practice, but will miss 16th game

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — LeBron James is back in full-contact defensive drills in practice with the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since the four-time NBA MVP strained his groin.

James will miss his 16th consecutive game Sunday when the Lakers host the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers are 5-10 in the games has missed in this streak and have slid out of a playoff position in the West.

The 34-year-old James has been out since Christmas due to the most significant injury of his 16-year NBA career. He had never missed more than 13 games in an entire season.

James practiced with his teammates Saturday at their training complex, but won’t return this weekend. The Lakers’ next game after that is Tuesday at home against Philadelphia.

James was selected this week to be a starter and a team captain in the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte on Feb. 17.