With their season hanging on an injury update, it seems the Los Angeles Lakers will live to fight another day. LeBron James hasn’t went through is MRI yet, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the team expects James to miss “a few games.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are of the mindset that LeBron James’ slight left groin strain will cost the superstar, at minimum, a few games.
The injury, a rare occurrence for the four-time MVP, occurred in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 127-101 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and looked worse than it is, sources close to James told Yahoo Sports.
The Lakers say James’ MRI “confirmed a strained left groin” and that he will miss the team's game against Sacramento and “will be listed as day-to-day” moving forward.
The good news is that the Lakers were prepared for this, or are as prepared as they can be. Luke Walton said after the game he was designing his game plan as if James would not be available Thursday against the Sacramento Kings and his teammates were talking like they weren’t scared of James missing time.
This update is obviously not a good thing for the team, but it is still a tiny bit positive considering how dire things had looked. The situation also serves as a rude reminder of the stage of James’ career the Lakers were entering upon signing him to this current four-year deal.
James has been the living embodiment of health and durability over the extent of his incredible career. To this point, the only evidence of his aging has been his peers’ falling off as they follow the typical path of decline you’d expect from players who have been in the NBA for 16 seasons.
Dwyane Wade is on a farewell tour. Carmelo Anthony is essentially unemployed. Chris Paul is currently injured as well. Father Time comes for all.
For the Lakers, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle James’ absence, both in terms of how conservative they’ll be in bringing him back, and how the rotation might work while he’s out. Brandon Ingram will probably take on more responsibility with the starters, and Rajon Rondo will be asked to make the second unit work even more productively to make up for what the starters miss with James out.
The upcoming schedule is worth taking a look at, too. The Lakers will close out 2018 with two games against the Sacramento Kings and one against the Los Angeles Clippers. They’ll open 2019 with games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. All things considered, they should be able to tread water over that time.
We will continue to provide updates on the situation as they come, but this is still mostly good news when remembering how dire things seemed last night.