LOS ANGELES — Bronny James, the oldest son of LeBron James and a highly touted freshman at USC, has been medically cleared to return to basketball, a mere four months after he suffered sudden cardiac arrest during a training session at USC.
James is expected to return to practice next week after a final evaluation with USC's staff this week. After that, the expectation is that Bronny will "return to games soon after," the James family said in a statement.
"The James family would like to express their gratitude to the incredible medical team, the entire USC community, and especially the countless friends, family, and fans for their love and support," the statement read. "Fight On!"
James collapsed on the Galen Center court in July during a summer run of five-on-five, barely a year after another highly touted Trojan prospect, center Vince Iwuchukwu, suffered a similar cardiac incident. James was hospitalized for three days at the time and was later diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. He underwent a heart procedure soon after to treat the condition.
James had been ramping up his activity recently, even warming up with the team before recent games. After USC's win over Eastern Washington on Wednesday, coach Andy Enfield said he anticipated the freshman would be back soon, but balked at offering any sort of timeline.
How long it might actually take for James to ramp up remains a mystery. When Iwuchukwu was finally cleared for contact last December, it took several weeks before he played in a game. It took even longer for him to earn a regular spot in the rotation. And ultimately, Iwuchukwu never really found his stride.
Only time will tell if James finds his as a freshman. But his impending return to the court is major news for USC, who could certainly stand to add more talent to their rotation. The Trojans have lost twice in their last five games, with a matchup looming Saturday against No. 11 Gonzaga.
Staff writer Dan Woike contributed to this report.
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