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Lakers taking ‘marathon’ approach with LeBron James’ ankle injury

The Lakers are not going to rush LeBron James back onto the court if he’s still limited with his right ankle soreness.

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Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James went from hoping to play vs. the San Antonio Spurs, to “questionable” to suit up, to “out” in the manner of a few hours on Tuesday, and before that game, head coach Frank Vogel made it clear that the team would not be rushing their star back to the court.

“He just got evaluated by the medical team (and) there was some soreness,” Vogel said on Tuesday. “We’re taking the marathon approach of holding him out.”

Vogel said that James was not able to work on the court prior to the Lakers’ latest game, and that the injury he sustained on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies was to the same ankle that limited him last year.

Vogel clarified, however, that this was a “different spot” and “different injury” than the high ankle sprain that left James looking like a shell of himself in the 2021 NBA playoffs. While that would suggest this one is less serious, the Lakers aren’t putting a timetable on James’ return. He will be listed as questionable for their Wednesday game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and could return either then, or at any point afterwards.

“We’re going to see how he feels. He’s just day-to-day and he’ll get evaluated again tomorrow, see what the soreness is like and make a decision then,” Vogel said.

If James continues to sit out, look for Rajon Rondo to continue to get more minutes to give the team another playmaker, and for Austin Reaves and Carmelo Anthony to keep getting extra burn on the wing.

In other injury news, Wayne Ellington suited up for the Lakers on Tuesday against the Spurs, and while Vogel planned to not play him outside of an emergency, he did add that the shooting guard should be ready to return and provide reinforcements soon. We’ll get a better sense of if James or anyone else will be joining him over the next 24 hours.

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