Fortunately for the Lakers, LeBron James’ recent battle with knee soreness was a short-lived one.
First reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports and later confirmed by head coach Frank Vogel pregame, LeBron James will return to the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. James missed Monday’s game in San Antonio with soreness in his left knee.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James (knee soreness) will return tonight against the Houston Rockets, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 9, 2022
Per Frank Vogel, LeBron will play tonight in Houston. AK— Kamenetzky Brothers (@KamBrothers) March 9, 2022
James missed just one game with knee soreness this time around, though it’s an injury he’ll continue to manage. The soreness in his left knee that kept him out on Monday is the same soreness that caused him to miss five games prior to the All-Star break in early February.
That being said, head coach Frank Vogel and the team had optimism the soreness wouldn’t be as severe this time around to force James to miss an extended period of time once again.
Vogel also noted that James has had to manage the injury since early February and said the knee is generally sore the morning after a game before decreasing in pain by the time of a game on the following day. It does raise some questions about whether James can or will play in any back-to-backs the remainder of the season, that of which the Lakers have three of, including in the final week of the season. James has said that rest is the only thing that can help him recover and, this late into the season, rest is not a luxury any team has.
Without James, the Lakers fell to the Spurs on Monday and slipped even closer to falling out of the play-in game. With the team only really surviving due to James’ brilliance, it’ll put the Lakers and James in a tough position of how to manage the injury in the final month of the season.