James had missed the past six games to continue to recover from a high ankle sprain.
Dennis Schroder, out the past seven games because of the league's health and safety protocols, also returned against the Pacers. Alex Caruso is available as well, but coach Frank Vogel said he may keep him out.
Currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers can move up to at least No. 6 and avoid the play-in tournament if they win Saturday against the Pacers and Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans and if the Portland Trail Blazers lose to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
ESPN's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.