After Heart Scare, LeBron's Kid Returns to Basketball

Bronny James resumes full-contact practice with USC team
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 1, 2023 12:30 AM CST
Updated Dec 8, 2023 12:30 AM CST
Bronny James Cleared to Return to Basketball
Southern California guard Bronny James joins teammates on the court during warmups for an NCAA college basketball game against Seton Hall on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023, in San Diego. James suffered a cardiac arrest in July.   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
UPDATE Dec 8, 2023 12:30 AM CST

Bronny James returned to full-contact basketball practice on Thursday for the first time since suffering cardiac arrest in July, paving the way for the son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James to make his college debut with Southern California, the AP reports. "He's excited," USC coach Andy Enfield said after practice. James did not speak with reporters. Last week, the 19-year-old was cleared by his doctors, and the Trojans had been waiting for their medical staff to give James the go-ahead to join them for full-contact practice. "He looked good, he looked a hundred percent," guard Kobe Johnson said. "Just being able to have him back out on the floor, it definitely raises the team morale. It was awesome to have him out there." It remains to be seen whether he'll play in Sunday's game.

Dec 1, 2023 12:30 AM CST

Bronny James has been cleared by doctors for a full return to basketball four months after suffering a cardiac arrest during a workout, and the Southern California freshman is expected to make his collegiate debut soon, the AP reports. A James family spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the 19-year-old will have a final evaluation with USC staff this week and resume practice next week. He will be able to play in games "soon after," it said. "The heart specialists have cleared him, which is great," coach Andy Enfield said Thursday after practice, "and now it's a matter of getting him back on the court next week hopefully to begin working out with the team full contact."

James didn't participate in pregame warmups Wednesday night and he didn't join his teammates on the bench until late in the first half of their 106-78 rout of Eastern Washington. He joked and smiled with the other reserves and he stood at the rear of the huddles during timeouts. The Trojans (5-2) play No. 11 Gonzaga in Las Vegas on Saturday. Their next home game is Dec. 10 against Long Beach State, a day the Los Angeles Lakers are off, which could allow LeBron James to watch his namesake son's debut. After that, the Trojans hit the road for four straight games.

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James need look no further than teammate Vincent Iwuchukwu for inspiration. The 7-foot-1 sophomore suffered a cardiac arrest in July 2022. He began limited practice last December and made his debut in January. He played in 14 games last season, averaging 5.4 points and 2.5 rebounds. Iwuchukwu was the top player off the bench Wednesday night, with 13 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. James was found to have a congenital heart defect that was treatable, and Enfield said of the specific date he'll return to play in games, "That's not my decision and it's probably too early to speculate. He's been out of basketball for quite a few months, so we'll be patient with him and once we get the green light we'll get him into games."

(More Bronny James stories.)

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