LeBron James looked fresh in the first game of his 18th season. In the 28:81 he played against the LA Clippers on Tuesday, he tallied 22 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Unfortunately, James wasn’t able to close out the game for the Los Angeles Lakers because he suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. After testing it out for a bit, James left the game and didn’t return. The Lakers lost 116-109.
James probably would have finished the game if it were a playoff game, but because it was the first game of the regular season, Frank Vogel decided against putting him back in. Given how short their offseason and preseason was, Vogel said he’s going to err on the side of caution more often than not when it comes to injuries this season.
“We’re going to be conservative with their minutes early on in the season, and we have the depth to do it,” Vogel said. “We had played well enough to win the game tonight, but we have the depth to manage our minutes intelligently early on in the season while we’re trying to get our legs under us and continue to do so. We have for guys to fill in and still play basketball during those stretches.”
That being said, James said he expects to be available when the Lakers take on the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day.
“I turned it pretty good,” James said. “I don’t think it’s going to stop me from playing on Friday. I’ve got a couple of days. Obviously, you know how I am about treatment, so I’ll do that around the clock, and I think I should be fine by then.”
The first step in his treatment? A glass or two of wine.
“I’ll go home, have dinner right now and I’ll ice it,” James said. “Then I’ll drink some wine that will flow right to the ankle. That’s probably the best recovery that I can have. I’ll make sure that I drink on the left side of my body so it just goes right down to my left leg, right down to my ankle.”
That doesn’t sound anatomically possible, but who are we to question someone who’s still in his prime at the age of 35? Drink all of the wine you need, King James.