NBA Rumor: LeBron James Injury

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'50-50' chance LeBron James returns against the Celtics

After the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks 109-102 to fall to 8-8 this season, LeBron James opened the door to making his return from an abdominal strain on Friday in Boston. “I hope,” James told ESPN on Wednesday when asked if he would play against the Celtics after missing the past eight games and 10 of L.A.’s 16 games because of injury. “I hope.” While Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James is “day to day,” sources close to James told ESPN that there is a “50-50” chance he will be back in the lineup at the TD Garden.

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.
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January 19, 2022 | 1:27 pm EST Update