The Los Angeles Lakers will have to compete without its team captain LeBron James who will be out for an undisclosed amount of games with an ankle injury.
James went down during the beginning of the second quarter of the Lakers matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. With the Lakers trailing the Hawks by five points, James was looking to score when three Hawks defenders swarmed him, causing the four time NBA MVP to lose control of the ball. When Hawks guard Solomon Hill dove for the loose ball, he tumbled on the court and into James’ right ankle, sending the 36-year-old James to the floor in pain. James grimaced as he briefly laid off the court, grabbing his ankle inside of the Staples Center.
James would hit a three pointer from the corner and limp down the court before the Hawks scored another quick basket. He called timeout following the score and walked into the locker room with his team’s trainers. James did not return to the game, finishing with ten points, four assists and one rebound in eleven minutes. The Lakers fell to the Hawks 99-94 and remain in third place in the western conference.
According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, James officially suffered a high ankle sprain and has been ruled out indefinitely. While X-rays determined he did not break his ankle, James’ MRI results are still pending.
After the game, James took to Twitter to give fans his own update. “Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates!” he wrote.
“I’m hurt inside and out right now. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left. #ThekidfromAKRON”
The last significant injury James suffered was during his first season with the Lakers in 2018. On Christmas Day, Bron was forced to leave during the third quarter after suffering a strained left groin. That injury, the first major setback of his career, spoiled his debut with the Lakers as the team would miss the playoffs and finish tenth in the western conference. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma told reporters after Saturday’s (March 20) game: “I haven’t necessarily seen him scream and scowl like that probably ever, even with that groin. It had to probably hurt a little bit for sure.”
Already without center Anthony Davis, the Lakers will have to find ways to win without James as they head into the final stretch of the NBA season. High ankle sprains typically take four to six weeks to recover, but James’ MRI results will determine exactly how much time the Lakers star will miss.