LeBron James’ time off the injury report this season was short-lived. After not being listed on it with the ab injury that sidelined him earlier in the season ahead of Tuesday’s game, LeBron James was a surprise late scratch for the Lakers on Thursday with left knee soreness.
Frank Vogel announced prior to the team’s 105-87 road loss to the Sixers that James would be out, and revealed that his star will be considered day-to-day moving forward.
“Honestly we’re going to see how it feels tomorrow,” Vogel said pregame. “If there is a significant change in what he’s feeling today, then he’ll be available tomorrow. So literally day-to-day.”
As he’s wont to do, James shared his reaction to the news that he would not be playing against Philadelphia on Twitter:
♂️ ♂️ ♂️— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 27, 2022
James certainly looked no worse for the wear for the Lakers on Tuesday, leading the team to an unusually comfortable win over the Nets in Brooklyn. He paced the team in points with 33, to go along with seven rebounds and six assists while playing 34 minutes.
The move could potentially be a preemptive one with the Lakers on the front end of a back-to-back on Thursday. Following the game against the Sixers, the Lakers travel to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Friday. The team then wraps up its road trip on Sunday against the Hawks.
James has previously made his thoughts about load and minutes management known, so it’s likely there’s at least something to him having knee soreness on Thursday. And with Anthony Davis back in the lineup, the team can afford to be slightly more cautious with James in this instance.
Still, it continues a frustrating trend of the Lakers Big Three of James, Davis and Russell Westbrook only playing together in just 16 games so far, less than one-third of the season for the Lakers. With the season continuing to chug along, the Lakers’ ability to get — and stay — healthy for a long stretch of games becomes more and more critical to the team’s success.
The good news is that, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, James’ injury shouldn’t cause too much worry for Lakers fans, as it’s more a product of wear and tear of a long NBA season:
"Doesn't sound like there's anything to be too scared about."— The Rally (@TheRally) January 27, 2022
Stadium #NBA Insider @ShamsCharania doesn't think Lakers fans should be too concerned about LeBron James' knee injury. pic.twitter.com/OXYC5fUcVD
Prior to Thursday, James had played in the team’s last 25 games after playing in just 11 of the first 23 contests. So, fortunately, James’ knee soreness only appears to be minor and hopefully is something that will only keep him out for a very short time before he can return to the court again.