LeBron James was a late scratch against the San Antonio Spurs with left knee soreness, and in an unsurprising development, the Lakers lost that game without their star. However, head coach Frank Vogel said after the defeat that the team has optimism that this issue won’t cause James to miss as much time as the last time he had an unexpected flare-up in his knee.
“After the Brooklyn game, going into Philly, no we don’t think it’s that. We’re hopeful that another day or two will get him back for the Houston game,” Vogel said.
The Lakers are listing James as “questionable” for their next game on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets with “left knee soreness/effusion.” James previously missed five games with soreness and swelling in the same knee, and said a few weeks ago that the only thing that will get the issue to go away is rest:
LeBron says that the only way for his knee to get fully healthy is rest and he "doesn't have the luxury" of getting rest right now— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) February 15, 2022
Even more than two weeks later, James still does not have the luxury of time off. With the Lakers (28-36) in ninth place in the Western Conference standings and just one game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans (27-37), they’re dangerously close to being on the bubble of the NBA play-in tournament entirely.
In good news for the purple and gold, they are still three games ahead of the actively tanking Portland Trail Blazers (25-39), and 3.5 ahead of the Spurs (25-40), so they seem unlikely to drop out of the 7-10 tournament range entirely, but such a scenario is potentially on the table if James misses any significant stretch of time as they close out the season. So it’s no surprise the team is trying to have hope that this issue won’t be as bad as the last time around for the 37-year-old star.
The Lakers will face the Rockets on Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT in Houston. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for more updates on James’ status as we get closer to that game.