LOS ANGELES — Heading into Christmas Day, it didn’t necessarily seem like a certainty that LeBron James would play when the Lakers hosted the Clippers. James had been dealing with a variety of injuries all week, from the thoracic muscle strain the team was listing him as injured with to the “nagging groin issue” that ESPN reported was causing James some discomfort.
After getting out on the floor with his teammates on Tuesday, James ultimately felt good enough to play on Wednesday, and his good feeling lasted about two or three plays before Patrick Beverley collided with him as James attempted to take a charge near the basket.
“I felt healthy going into the game. The second or third defensive possession I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Bev,” James said. “That kind of set me right back to where I was five days ago.”
Luckily James clarified that the injury he’s dealing with currently is on the opposite side of his groin as the one a year ago, but it still wasn’t a great moment. As if the 111-106 loss to the Clippers that the team took wasn’t enough of a kick to the groin for Lakers fans to deal with on Christmas, it turns out the nearly 35-year-old star the franchise’s title hopes are built around took a literal hit to his own ailing nether regions. It’s not the worst groin injury James has sustained on Christmas Day, but it had to be a bit of the scariest kind of déjà vu for the star.
James continued on and finished the game with a 23-point, 10-assist and 9-rebound near triple-double, so this injury would at least appear to be far less severe, but he and the Lakers should surely use caution here, given that they’ve seen what can happen if this specific malady gets worse. It seems some in the organization are already trying to make sure James is careful, and he might miss some time as a result, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Even though the Lakers are now riding a season-worst four-game losing streak, several members of the organization have already approached James about the urgency to sit out and rehab his groin injury until he feels fully recovered, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers are not scheduled to practice on Thursday, and don’t play again until they take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, so James has plenty of time to get right. We’ll see how he progresses as the game gets closer.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.