Lakers superstar LeBron James continues to re-acclimate to the rigors of NBA basketball and the increased intensity of the playoffs following the right high ankle sprain that cost him seven weeks total, with the final week coming due to ankle soreness he experienced after his initial return.
As I detailed in my last update on LeBron, he looked quite spry against the New Orleans Pelicans in the final game of the season, but he did end up jamming his foot at the tail end of that game. During the first two games of the Suns series — whether a result of that “tweak” or simply LeBron pacing himself as he’s always wont to do (and no one does it or understands that long-term picture better) — he was clearly hesitant and very measured with his movements and aggression to start the playoffs.
However, that all changed in Game 3. In the following video, I detailed James’ movements during that win, and why the game was a very positive indicator for where LeBron is at with his ankle and overall health:
I’m not sure if we’ll see the same level of aggression from LeBron in today’s Game 4 — unless teammate Anthony Davis is clearly hobbled with his own knee injury — but a key takeaway here is that his lack of aggression in the first two games seems to be more so due to pacing himself rather than an inability to activate playoff mode. And hopefully as we continue to learn more, we can all join LeBron in chuckling at Jae Crowder.
Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room. You can follow him on Twitter at@3cbPerformance.