In the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, LeBron James appeared to re-aggravate the ankle injury that kept him sidelined for nearly two months and exited the game. After the game, James confirmed that he re-aggravated the injury but not to a serious degree, as far as he could tell.
“It was a tweak,” James said. “I stepped on Alexander’s foot on the way down from that last layup but I’ll be fine.”
James seemed fine when he played against the Toronto Raptors on May 2, too, but he missed the following six games. Could this be another one of those situations? Not according to James.
“When I say I’m fine, I’m saying I’ll be in the lineup on Wednesday, so I look forward to that challenge,” James said.
Frank Vogel also seemed confident that James will be available for the Lakers’ play-in game against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, saying that he should be “good to go.”
James will be hoping to avoid anymore scares with his ankle in the postseason, not just because of the physical toll its taken on him, but because of the mental toll as well.
“It’s been hard to tackle it,” James said. “I was playing some of the best basketball of my career before the injury and it wasn’t, like, a self-inflicted wound. It wasn’t something that I could control. It’s not like I wasn’t putting in the work and then my body failed me. I literally had a grown man diving at my leg for a loose ball and here’s the injury.
“I had to pay the price for that and take my time and get my ankle to where it is today, to where I’m able to be back on the floor, but it cost me seven weeks of the season that I still think back on. I still hate it. I’m still not comfortable with it or gave it much thought much thought as far as what this season could have been for me personally. I’ve hated every moment of that but it is what it is.
“This is the time. The time is now and I”m ready for it.”
The Lakers have two days before their play-in game on Wednesday. As long as James doesn’t suffer any setbacks during that time, he should in uniform then.