The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that LeBron James will not play in the remaining six games of their season in order to fully let him heal from the groin injury he sustained on Christmas Day.
In a statement, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka said that this move was best for both James and the team.
“After consulting with our team doctors and medical staff, we have decided to hold LeBron out of games for the remainder of the season. This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.”
The Lakers say that James will still travel with the team on their current road trip to New Orleans and Oklahoma City.
This move brings the first season of the LeBron James era in Los Angeles to a somewhat-dispiriting close, and James finishes his first campaign in a Lakers uniform averaging 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.2 assists over 55 games. James sitting the rest of the way to heal his groin means that the injury will ultimately cost him 27 games, the most he’s ever missed in an NBA season.
At age 34 and heading into one of the longest summers of his career, letting James get right so that he can rest up and run this back again as the team aims for a playoff berth (or higher, depending on the results of free agency) next season makes a lot sense if his groin is still bothering him at all, especially given that the Lakers have nothing to play for the rest of the way.
This isn’t the way any of us expected this season to end last July, but there is no reason for the Lakers to keep running James out there at this point. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN noted on Twitter, the close to James’ season leaves a little hope that a brighter future is still ahead as long as James can stay in the lineup.
With the Lakers winning the final three games LeBron James suited up for in 2018-19, L.A. finished with a 28-27 record in the 55 games played in his first season with the franchise.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 30, 2019
This season showed that James is still really good, he just clearly needs a little more help to allow him to rest at times, and better health. Now we head into the summer and see if the Lakers can get him the former, and the team’s hope has to be that the longer-than-expected offseason may allow him to attain the latter as well.
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