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."
Mark Medina: Lakers coach Frank Vogel on LeBron James' high ankle sprain: "Those things take a while to heal. They're slow recoveries. We're prepared for us to be without him indefinitely." But not clear how long indefinitely is
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.
Some players expressed optimism about James' recovery prospects after the game. "He's bounced back before and he will in a couple of days," Schroder said. "So, I'm not worried."
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.)
Dave McMenamin: LeBron James accompanied the Lakers on their flight to Phoenix, according to a team spokesperson.
LeBron James: Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates! I’m hurt inside and out right now. 🤦🏾♂️. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left. #ThekidfromAKRON🤴🏾
Adrian Wojnarowski: High-ankle sprain for LeBron James, out indefinitely, source tells ESPN.
Solomon Hill: would never disrespect the game and take a player out purposely... he knows that. that’s all that matters to me. praying for a speedy recovery. #riptothementionstho #moredmsthansaweetie
Sarah K. Spencer: "I pray he's alright and hope everything's good with him," Trae Young said of LeBron, who injured his ankle in the second quarter.
Duane Rankin: Kyle Kuzma just said he'd never heard LeBron James "scream" like that with the injury. Lakers at #Suns tomorrow.
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.
Dave McMenamin: LeBron James is receiving a MRI on his right ankle, sources tell ESPN.
Ryan Ward: Frank Vogel on dealing with LeBron's injury along with all the others: "It's certainly going to be a challenge when your are undermanned." Emphasized a need to play "team basketball" during this tough time with injuries.
Kyle Goon: Frank Vogel points to the game in Sacramento as evidence that the Lakers have sufficient offensive firepower even if LeBron has to sit out: "To me, we have enough to win. I think it was just a little tough for our guys to adjust on the fly."
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.
Bill Oram: LeBron James is hurt. He appeared to land awkwardly on his calf and tumbled to the ground in apparent pain. He is up and limping.
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.
Harrison Faigen: The Lakers have upgraded LeBron and AD to probable for tomorrow. They've been questionable the last several games. pic.twitter.com/MP7kXJ6dtk
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.
Cayleigh Griffin: Jared Dudley is out for LAL with a sore right calf. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James all remain listed as questionable.
Harrison Faigen: LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are all questionable again tonight (just like last night) pic.twitter.com/1TKWfHhJGw
Mark Medina: LeBron James said "I'll be ready to go tomorrow" vs Mavs after turning his ankle on opening night
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.
Jamie Hudson: Lakers Injury Report for Game 2 on Thursday vs. Blazers: Rajon Rondo (right thumb; surgery) is questionable; Anthony Davis (sore right knee) and LeBron James (sore right groin) are probable.
ShowtimeForum: "Anthony Davis (eye), LeBron James (groin) and Kyle Kuzma (ankle) are probable to play on Saturday against the Raptors." - Via NBA Injury Report #LakeShow #Lakers #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/LEsxX6hB3m
Melissa Rohlin: LeBron James (sore groin) is out for tomorrow’s game against Golden State. Anthony Davis (sore left elbow) is probable.
Mike Bresnahan: Anthony Davis is listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs. Dallas because of soreness in his right shoulder. LeBron James (sore groin) and Kyle Kuzma (sprained ankle) are listed as probable for the game.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will play Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers despite dealing with a groin injury, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Lakers had ruled James’ status for the Portland game as questionable.
Mike Bresnahan: Lakers Coach Frank Vogel said a decision hadn’t been made yet on whether LeBron James would play tonight vs. Portland. Some of it depends on how he fares at today’s upcoming shoot-around. James is listed as questionable because of a groin injury.
Brett Dawson: LeBron James has a groin contusion and is questionable for tomorrow but will make the trip to Portland. Anthony Davis (sore right knee) is probable.
Good news for the Lakers: LeBron James (groin) will travel with the team to Portland and is on track to play on Saturday against the Trail Blazers, league sources say. James is said to be feeling fine enough to play after receiving treatment on Thursday. He re-aggravated his groin injury in the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers.
A collision with Patrick Beverley in the first quarter of the Lakers' 111-106 loss Wednesday night to the Clippers caused LeBron James to aggravate a nagging groin injury and could cause the Lakers star to miss some game time moving forward. "I felt healthy going into the game," James said after finishing with 23 points on 9-for-24 shooting, with 10 assists and 9 rebounds. "I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Bev, and it kind of set me right back to where I was five days ago."
James missed his first game of the season Sunday while dealing with a thoracic muscle strain -- a pull in the rib cage area -- as well as a nagging groin issue, sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst. He is listed as day-to-day by the Lakers with the Christmas game on the horizon. However, a source close to James told ESPN he expected the star to be in the lineup. While James' presence would certainly buoy this Lakers group, Anthony Davis pointed to a more pressing need than the four-time MVP: team defense.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is doubtful for Sunday's home game against the Nuggets with a thoracic muscle strain, coach Frank Vogel announced Saturday. LeBron James first sustained the injury, a pull in the rib cage area, against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and played through it during Thursday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. James didn't require an MRI, but this is a significant issue and not just a load management situation, sources told ESPN.
Earlier this week, James said he didn't plan to miss any games this season for rest. James has also been dealing with a nagging groin issue recently, sources said. Last season a groin strain on Christmas Day derailed James and the Lakers' season.
Kyle Goon: LeBron James did not practice today. He's doubtful for tomorrow against the Nuggets with a thoracic muscle strain.
Tania Ganguli: The Lakers have listed LeBron James as questionable with a sore right elbow for tomorrow’s game in Atlanta.
The Lakers announced this weekend that James would be held out of the final six games to allow his strained left groin to fully heal. "He wants to play," Walton said before the Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. "My understanding from the medical staff, they finally said, 'Look, it's just not worth it anymore. Let's make sure you have a healthy summer.' So that's the decision that was made, and we'll move forward without him on the floor for the final six."
Why wasn't that decision made sooner? "Well, I think that goes back to him wanting to compete," Walton said. "Even though it's over, he wants to be out there playing with his guys. Eventually, as that time goes on and on, it's easier to tell someone like that, 'Let's take care of your health right now.' So that's kind of how the decision came."
Walton said that the final stretch of the season will be difficult without James, but will present an opportunity for the rest of his young team. "It's going to make it a challenge, but you know, it can be exciting if guys step up," he said. "This group, it's been fun, for where we're at, it's been fun to coach this group lately, and the way they've been playing out there. LeBron's been a key part of that. We'll have to figure some things out differently, but again, everyone's getting a chance to play and try to help us win some more games."
Kyle Goon: Interesting that the Lakers note that LeBron IS traveling to New Orleans and Oklahoma City with the team. This is the Lakers' last road trip out of Staples Center.
Ira Winderman: Had been told, when LeBron was unable to make it to Bosh's jersey retirement, that LeBron would be at Wade's regular-season career finale April 10 in Brooklyn. Lakers; last game is April 9. Now travel should not be an issue (if it ever was).
Dave McMenamin: Lakers statement: “After consulting with our team doctors and medical staff, we have decided to hold LeBron out of games for the remainder of the season. This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.”
Harrison Faigen: The Lakers are listing LeBron as probable for tomorrow. Mike Muscala is also probable. Reggie Bullock and Tyson Chandler are questionable
Kyle Goon: Josh Hart is already listed as OUT for tomorrow's game against the Wizards. Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala are QUESTIONABLE. LeBron James is PROBABLE.
Mike Trudell: LeBron James is listed as probable with a left knee contusion for tonight’s game vs. SAC, while Josh Hart (knee tendinitis) is out, and Mike Muscala (tibialias posterior tendinitis) questionable.
Dr. Karen Joubert: As a PT for 27 years I have had the good fortune to work with some of the top athletes in the world ... then came Lebron. I want you all to know how bad his injury was and is, the pain he endured. Along with his amazing trainer, Mike Mancias, he was on the court in 6 weeks, it should have been 6 months. Unselfishly, he endured pain, pain, pain. He did not want to let the Lakers down, the fans down. But I know what he went through! I learned about determination, the will to win, how to get the job done. He is a force to be reckoned with. @kingjames @mikemancias1 #lebronjames #lakers #basketball #lebron
Greg Logan: Walton says, “It’s nice being able to say #LeBron is back in the starting lineup.” Obviously, decision was made since shootaround.
Mike Trudell: LeBron - listed as probable/expected to play tonight - said after shootaround that missing last game due to the sore groin was about managing it and not taking a step backwards. “At this point of the season that’s the last thing I’d want is to take a step backwards.”
Mike Trudell: Luke Walton said Josh Hart won’t play tonight (sore knee). LeBron will play, Tyson Chandler is available and Lance Stephenson is questionable.
Mike Bresnahan: Lakers officially list LeBron James (sore groin) as probable for Friday’s game vs. Brooklyn.
Mike Trudell: LeBron’s been shooting 3’s with Kuzma for a good 30 minutes plus now. From afar, he’s been vocal and encouraging. Kuz has struggled from 3 all season, a source of frustration for him after a solid rookie year from 3, though his overall FG% is still up a bit.
Kyle Goon: Luke Walton on LeBron's absence from the bench tonight: "I know up until the point we left to come out to the court he was on the table the entire time getting treatment." Didn't know LeBron's schedule otherwise. We did see LeBron leaving after the game in the arena tunnel.
June 15, 2021 | 2:33 pm EDT Update
The Celtics have had their eye on Anderson for quite some time according to league sources. With Memphis having plenty of younger talent on the wing, they may opt to simply add some more assets for the 27-year-old wing entering a contract year. Anderson’s improvement as a 3-point shooter last season, along with his passing, would provide the skillset that makes him a nice fit for Boston.
Michael Singer: The Nuggets support Nikola Jokic’s Olympic decision either way, but the team has real (& valid) concerns about his rest & recovery this summer, per source. Since start of the Bubble on Aug. 1st, he’s played 109 of 109 poss. games & finished 3rd in total mins (2488) this season.
Chris Grenham: Texas A&M’s Jordan Hall will work out with the Celtics on Thursday, per source. Hall recently transferred from St. Joseph’s to A&M.
June 15, 2021 | 1:23 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Nets‘ James Harden plans to play tonight in Game 5 vs. Milwaukee barring a setback in pregame warmups, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium . He’s been upgraded to questionable.