NBA rumors: Lakers focusing on 'big picture' with LeBron James' injury

The Jump: LeBron expected to miss next 2 games (Ankle) “I spoke to a source who said: ‘We’re focusing on the big picture right now'” —@Dave McMenamin #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #LakeShow

More on LeBron James Injury

It is possible James could miss more games, sources said, as he works through discomfort in a right ankle that kept him out six weeks until a brief two-game return that included home losses to Toronto and Sacramento over the weekend.
James and the Lakers will continue to evaluate the injury, and proceed cautiously as the Lakers ramp up for the postseason, sources said. James has experienced some trouble making hard cuts and exploding since his return from six weeks on the sidelines with the injury, sources said.
Jovan Buha: Vogel on the team’s comments last night: “We’re looking at everything right now. We agree that our team is a little shook right now. Obviously, it’s a tough blow to not have Bron again tonight. ... We’re in a tough spot. But we’re gonna come out fighting, I promise you that.”
Dave McMenamin: Frank Vogel on LeBron James: “He was battling some soreness. We decided not to bring him back. We’ll see how he’s feeling tomorrow.” LAL plays Denver on Monday
Kyle Goon: Asked if he returned too early, LeBron said: "You never know until you get out there." He also mentions that some of the "sharp pain" he's felt in games were not things he felt in workouts.
Bill Oram: LeBron on his injury: "I don't want to say I came back too early but at the end of the day I had to test it out and see where I was at."
Shams Charania: After missing over a month with high ankle sprain, Lakers star LeBron James is expected to return tonight vs. the Sacramento Kings assuming warmups go as planned, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: LeBron James’ return from longest absence of his career — out since March 20 with high-ankle sprain – could come tonight vs. Kings. James plans to test ankle and make a game-time decision. Otherwise, he’s likely to return as soon as Sunday vs. Toronto.
Harrison Faigen: Something I missed the other night from Dennis Schröder's postgame: "I heard Bron is close."
What are the risks associated with having had a high ankle sprain versus a regular ankle sprain? Jeff Stotts: So the regular ankle sprain involves the ligaments on the side of the ankle. The high ankle involves different ligaments altogether. It involves the distal tib fib joint, which is the distal ends of our two lower leg bones and there’s a ligament that goes across the top, there’s a couple other ligaments that stabilize that area. And that really forms what we call the ankle mortis, which is kind of a roof that goes over the talus of the ankle. And so we’re talking about overall integrity and stability of the ankle itself. It’s why they take longer to recover from. It’s why their resulting time lost games is greater and it’s why you need to be patient with the injury. You want to make sure that the ligaments are as strong as possible. Stability in the ankle is good. We want to make sure everything around the joint is ready to go, and that can be difficult because everything in the ankle might feel OK, but your ankle stabilizer’s not as strong, you end up having a reoccurrence or new injury.
It appears Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James could return back to action as early as next week. “You’ll see Anthony Davis still be on that 15-minute restriction in his second game back tonight but that’ll start ramping up as we get closer to LeBron James’ return, which could be as soon as the following week,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday.
LeBron James (ankle) is believed to be weeks away from a return to the court, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports. Head coach Frank Vogel noted that James has recently progressed to "light work," but he still isn't all that close to gaining full clearance. The Lakers will undoubtedly take the proper steps to ensure James is at full health prior to clearing him, and at this point in time, a specific return date has not yet been identified.
And James, who suffered a high right ankle sprain three weeks ago, is on track be back in the lineup in three weeks, sources said. The nine-year veteran Davis was averaging 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals per game this season prior to the injury.
“I expect when he completely heals, he should be just like who he was before he got hurt,” said Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist and author of ‘That’s Gotta Hurt: The injuries that changed sports forever.’ “So short term, bad news. Long term, good news.”
LeBron James has missed the past eight games after sustaining a high-ankle sprain during a game against Atlanta on March 20. The reflex assumption, because this is James, is that he will return by month’s end and duly return to elite form. Given that James is 36, and in his 18th season, we should probably also acknowledge the possibility that his recovery won’t be seamless.
Lakers star LeBron James is initially expected to miss several weeks due to his high right ankle sprain, sources say. High ankle sprains tend to range in missed time but usually last multiple weeks. James is not an ordinary player, though, and has an uncanny pain tolerance. At 36 years old, James and the Lakers are sure to be cautious with his return and allow him to return based on his response to treatment — which could be sooner than later.
Kyle Goon: Dennis Schroder says LeBron's presence on this trip shows his commitment to the organization: "In my career, I see people get hurt and not come on the road trip. ... You see him on the bench, even though he's hurt, means a lot to me."
A high ankle sprain likely means a minimum of two weeks, but depending on the severity of the sprain it could be six weeks or more. The nature of the sprain — the fact it was an eversion sprain, opposite of a standard sprain when the ankle rolls to the outside of the foot — complicates things. Because James ankle buckled the other way, there is the possibility of a bone bruise developing on the tip of the fibula when it rammed into the ankle bone. That would be even tougher to come back from. The Lakers final regular-season game is in less than eight weeks, on May 16.
Said Harrell: "This guy is a pro, man. I don't think it's going to set him back too much, but he is human, man." Coming into Saturday, James was averaging 25.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists and played in all but one game for the Lakers this season, keeping his name atop the MVP conversation. L.A. lost the game James missed for rest, 123-120 to the Sacramento Kings, right before the All-Star break.
James' initial attempt to remain on the court after the injury (he even made a 3-pointer on the next possession) recalled his strong track record of playing through more common ankle sprains, which involve a different group of ligaments. As Stotts noted on Twitter on Saturday, his database showed James missing just three games total with eight previous ankle sprains. In this case, there's reason for the Lakers to be more cautions with James' health -- certainly as compared to Thompson's desire to rush back during the NBA Finals. Where the Lakers finish in the Western Conference standings is less important than having their stars healthy for the postseason.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT: Last thing on Bron’s injury for tonight (I swear 😂). The “indefinite” tag reads to me as a good sign bc it indicates there’s likely some nuance to the injury & the med staff wants to see how it evolves. If it was major, you’re more likely to see an initial “x week out” timeline.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT: One of the reasons Bron puts in so much work is to have an athletic reserve and resilience. His physio said he came back from the serious adductor injury in 6 weeks when she’s seen many athletes take 6 months. The 👑 will be back and with a vengeance. Believe that.
"A guy dove for a loose ball, took his leg out from up under him," Montrezl Harrell said. "I really don't feel like it was one of those loose-ball plays. He had to go through his leg to get the ball, man. He was turned sideways. The ball was behind him. I mean, you're jumping at an angle, going across this way, I mean, I don't know how you feel that's a loose ball." Dennis Schroder concurred. "That's an unnecessary play to dive in the leg like that," he said.
The Lakers have three tough games this week when their next-man-up mantra will be tested. They play Sunday at Phoenix and Tuesday at New Orleans before playing host to Philadelphia on Thursday. The Lakers are percentage points behind the Suns for second place in the Western Conference, both 2½ games behind league-leading Utah. Backup center Montrezl Harrell did his part Saturday, when he led the Lakers with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Veteran forward Markieff Morris contributed 12 points and six rebounds. “It’s next man up,” Morris echoed. “We been dealing with injuries and the COVID all year, so we got to figure out how to get wins and figure out how we’re going to play, players in different positions, be team players and be aggressive.”
The impact of injuries is a key reason it's dangerous to start to draw MVP conclusions too early in the season. Staying on the court is a key part of value within an individual regular season. Historically, 10 games missed has been about the cutoff for MVP consideration. The last player to miss more than 10 games in an MVP season was Allen Iverson in 2000-01 (11). Before that, you have to go back to Bill Walton in 1977-78 (an unprecedented 34) for the previous example. (No MVP between Walton and Iverson missed more than seven games.)
Adrian Wojnarowski: X-rays negative on LeBron James’ right ankle, source tells ESPN. MRI results still pending.
Kyle Goon: Montrezl Harrell on Solomon Hill's dive into LeBron: "We don't feel like it was one of those basketball-type plays." On follow-up: "He had to go through his leg to get the ball." Says he didn't think he intend to hurt James but that it's something that the league should look at.
Bill Oram: With the corner 3 he buried after the injury, LeBron secured his 1,036th game with at least 10 points. It is the record by far. Michael Jordan second on that list with 866.
Jovan Buha: Solomon Hill went for a steal and collided with LeBron James' left leg/knee area. LeBron fell and was screaming in pain -- you could hear it from a couple hundred feet away -- but he just got up on his own and limped to the bench. Unclear yet if he's going to return.
Bill Oram: Lakers call timeout and LeBron heads to the locker room, knocking down a stool on his way off the court. You have to understand how much it takes to get LeBron to go to the locker room after getting hurt.
Jovan Buha: Lakers’ injury report for tomorrow vs. Philadelphia: — LeBron James (left ankle sprain) is questionable. — Anthony Davis (right ankle contusion) is probable. — Jared Dudley (sore right calf) and Kostas Antetokounmpo (right knee patellar tendonitis) are out.
Lakers Nation: Lakers injury report for Game 2: Dion Waiters (sore left groin) is doubtful. LeBron James (sore right groin) and Rajon Rondo (back spasms) are probable.
Melissa Rohlin: LeBron James (sore groin) is out for tomorrow’s game against Golden State. Anthony Davis (sore left elbow) is probable.
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