LeBron James continues to be sidelined with an abdominal strain that he picked up during the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Houston Rockets on Nov 2. The four-time NBA champion is making steady progress, and is scheduled to return to action sooner than expected.

The Lakers are 3-3 without James, with two wins coming in overtime against the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat. Carmelo Anthony has stepped up in the former Cleveland Cavaliers cager's absence, while Anthony Davis put in a clinical 34-point game in their latest win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, a source close to James has confirmed that the Lakers star will be back on court "soon" while also revealing that he is progressing well. However, despite talks of an imminent return, Frank Vogel confirmed prior to the game against Spurs that James is yet to take part in full contact training.

The Lakers head coach was upbeat about James' progress, but still listed him as day-to-day. James has been working individually and is yet to join the rest of the group. This indicates that he will not be available for the Lakers' clash against the high flying Chicago Bulls on Monday night at the Staples Center.

"He looks good. He's moving. He hasn't done a full practice or contact yet but he's looking good moving around in his individual work," Vogel said, as quoted on Silver Screen and Roll.

The Lakers will embark on a road trip following their home game against the Bulls on Monday. They will visit the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers, and Vogel will hope to have James back for at least some of their games on the road.

The Purple and Gold are currently 8-6 for the season and are in seventh in the Western Conference. The games come thick and fast until the end of December with very little down time for the team to practice and recover.

LeBron James
LeBron James' partnership with Anthony Davis propelled the Lakers back into the NBA Finals Kevin C. Cox/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA