Lakers: The truth behind LeBron James’ latest injury scare

LeBron James made everyone in Arena hold their breath on Wednesday night. To make matters worse, after losing 130-120 at home to the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers were left wondering about James’ status as he cautiously walked back to the locker room with 3:55 left in the game. It was eventually found that LeBron was disturbed by a longstanding left ankle issue, which had affected him for months.

Over the last few weeks, the Lakers have labeled James as questionable for almost every game on their injury report due to “left ankle peroneal tendinopathy.” Essentially, this injury causes inflammation in the tendons on the outside of the ankle and foot. Unfortunately, this is a long-term ailment that can only be fully recovered with rest.
At this point in the season, James cannot afford to rest, which is why he has persevered despite adversity and agony. However, Wednesday night served as another example of Father Time catching up with the eventual Hall of Famer.

LeBron’s injury was severe.

For James and the Lakers, the strategy regarding his ankle ailment remains unchanged: evaluate his condition leading up to the game and make a decision after warmups.

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James has appeared in 56 of the Lakers’ 64 total games this season, missing their first game after the All-Star break against the Golden State Warriors. They lost the game 128-110 in San Francisco. Although James has minimized the severity of his injuries, there is cause for concern.

While few specifics have emerged since Wednesday night, when James departed the court against the Kings, his injury appears to be the result of time catching up with him. LeBron’s ankle injury is actually caused by “wear and tear,” according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Now in his 21st season and having turned 39 in December, James is nearing the end of one of the greatest careers in American professional sports history. James’s consistent success over the last two decades will be difficult for any other player to match in the future.

LeBron’s ankle injury has been a concern since the beginning of the season. It appears that things will be managed dependent on how his body responds to treatment in the build up to games, as well as his general pain tolerance. After all, James has played an average of 35 minutes per game this season, so it is probable that the Lakers will try to limit his playing time before the playoffs.

However, given their 34-30 record, Los Angeles has very little room for error right now, since they are currently ranked 10th in the Western Conference.

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With James’ injury flare-up and their persistent lack of success on the court, the Lakers are facing the possibility of missing the playoffs for the second time since winning their 17th championship in team history during the 2019-20 season. LeBron’s availability for Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks is currently unknown.

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