Anthony Davis being listed as probable to play against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday isn’t the only good news to come out of the latest Lakers injury report. In addition to Davis looking as close to a return as ever, LeBron James is no longer listed on the report with the rectus abdominis strain he’s been listed with for most of the season.
My friend and fellow Titan Marc Stein pointed this out to me after I had initially missed it, and after taking on the truly depressing task of reading through every injury report the Lakers have sent out this year in the interest of service journalism (#PressOn), I have determined that he was right: This is the first time in a looooooong time that James has not been on the injury report at all.
For full context, the Lakers’ game against the Nets will be their 48th game of the season. Not only is this the first time since Nov. 2 — ahead of the Lakers’ eighth game of the season vs. the Houston Rockets — that James is not listed with the ominous “rectus abdominis strain,” but that somehow undersells how long James has been banged up for. He was listed with “right ankle soreness” for that aforementioned game, and then promptly missed the next eight games with the abdominal strain he sustained that night.
Since then, James has been listed on the injury report as either “probable,” “doubtful” or “questionable” with the injury in every game, other than his one-game absence in the health and safety protocols vs. the Sacramento Kings in the Lakers’ 23rd game of the year. This is the first game James has not been listed on the injury report at all since the Lakers’ third game of the season.
Now, James has averaged 29.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting 52.8% from the field while playing through this injury, per Basketball-Reference. So does any of this actually mean anything? As someone who is neither a doctor or a PR person in charge of putting together injury reports, I can’t say for sure.
But it does seem notable that the team is not even listing James with a precautionary injury designation in case they want to rest him, the latest sign that it’s not just Davis getting healthier. It’s the whole team as they get ready for one last push in the second half of the year.