NBA rumors: LeBron James probable for tomorrow

More on LeBron James Injury

Grizzlies forward Desmond Bane collided with James' right leg in the first half, causing James to tumble to the floor. The Lakers star remained there for several minutes as L.A. called timeout so the team's medical staff could check on him. For James, it was a scare involving the same leg that suffered a high right ankle sprain last season when the Atlanta Hawks' Solomon Hill crashed into his lower body while lunging for a steal. That injury caused him to miss 26 games and didn't fully heal until months into the offseason. "The first thing I was thinking to myself was, 'Not again,'" James said afterward. "Because obviously it was almost similar but not the same kind of play. Guy falls into my leg and there's nothing you can do about it and I couldn't get my leg out of there in time."
Can you go over what you saw in the reaggravation in the last game of the season? Dr. Brian Sutterer: You had to zoom in really close because they didn’t show a good look at it, but a typical, common, low-ankle sprain, a lot of us have probably done ourselves. The outer portion of our ankle rolls down closer to the ground. A high-ankle-sprain mechanism occurs when the foot points outwards in what we call external rotation, so the toes are pointed outwards, and the foot sometimes rolls in the opposite direction, so the inside of the ankle goes down closer to the floor. So that’s the position that LeBron’s ankle was in when he stepped on Alexander-Walker’s foot. The reason I was concerned that he had tweaked the original injury was that it was the same mechanism as his original high-ankle sprain. I think if this would have been the more classic low-ankle sprain, I probably wouldn’t have been that concerned because he’s shown us he can brush those off. But because it was the same mechanism as his original injury, that’s where I think there’s concern of how healthy that ligament is going to be going into Wednesday.
Do you think people aren’t making a big enough deal about this issue? Dr. Brian Sutterer: It’s certainly possible that he could respond well enough to where it won’t bother him, but I think it is something that could play a bigger role than people are talking about. You heard Frank Vogel say, “It’s not an issue. He’s fine. There’s no concern,” and of course they’re going to say that going into one of the biggest games of the year to not give the Warriors any advantage with game planning. But, yeah, when we see an injury that’s the of the same mechanism of what originally caused it, and we’ve already seen a setback in the last time he returned, you have to at least be aware of the possibility that he could be more limited than we maybe think going into it.
Dave McMenamin: LeBron James checks out of the game after appearing to tweak the same ankle that caused him to miss 22 of the Lakers' last 26 games. He was playing in the 4th Q even though L.A. was already all but assured the 7th seed, with Denver down 20-plus in the final minutes in POR.
Dave McMenamin: Frank Vogel says LeBron James and Dennis Schroder are available and will play in Indianapolis. Alex Caruso is available but Vogel says he might hold him out.
Kellan Olson: The Lakers are listing Anthony Davis and LeBron James as questionable for tomorrow's game against the Pacers. Same with Alex Caruso and Dennis Schroder. Indiana will have no Brogdon, Turner, Lamb or Sumner. LeVert, Sabonis and Aaron Holiday are questionable.
LeBron James: Getting close but I won’t be in the lineup tonight but more importantly I will be there to put that CHAMPIONSHIP banner in the rafters at Staples Center in front of our fans!! #No17 💜💛
His earliest return to the lineup is now Saturday on the road against the Indiana Pacers. James has been recovering from a high ankle sprain and last played on May 2. He returned to the lineup on April 30 against the Sacramento Kings after missing 20 games before he was sidelined again after two games.
Jovan Buha: The Lakers are listing LeBron James as out for tomorrow’s game against New York. For what it’s worth, he was listed as out the day before his return against Sacramento.
Shams Charania: Lakers star LeBron James is targeting Tuesday vs. New York for return to the lineup from sore right ankle, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. If not Tuesday, Wednesday vs. Houston is possible.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Source: Lakers star LeBron James (ankle) has had two “really good days of workouts at a high level” and feels “great.” He plans to return Tuesday against Knicks or Wednesday against Rockets.
Duane Rankin: Frank Vogel, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said LeBron James (ankle) has looked good in his workouts. "He's dunking the ball" Caldwell-Pope said as James didn't play tonight against #Suns.
Ryan Ward: Anthony Davis on confidence level that LeBron will be able to bounce back like he did: "What I seen from LeBron today he'll be fine."
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
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.)
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