Lakers’ superstar LeBron James injured his ankle vs. the New Orleans Pelicans on March 7. It was an injury he gutted through for that game, but he then proceeded to miss the next seven out of the final eight games of the season, other than the two sides’ rematch on April 1.
Information on the injury has been limited up to this point, but LeBron went into more detail during his exit interview on Monday morning.
Here’s what he had to say:
“I got the MRI on my ankle on Friday and there is no surgery required, no injections, but I’m gonna have to stay off of it for about 4-6 weeks to let it recover. It’s funny, if we were the team that I would hope and wish we were, I shouldn’t have played in that New Orleans game after the injury. I kinda made it worse, but I wanted to see if we could make a late push. But it literally was like less than one week after the injury in New Orleans, so I kind of made it worse, but I’ll make a full recovery.”
Based on these details, I went into further detail on the injury, including the potential severity and what it means for James’ summer training and season ramp-up:
This is yet another example of the lengths that LeBron will go to in order to help his team, sacrificing his short-term health and relying on his planning and recovery abilities to help him navigate the pitfalls of playing through injuries.
That being said, it’s also a lesson that attempting to play through injury nearly always has cumulative effects, even for arguably the most durable and disciplined athlete of all time. Lets just hope that next season, the Lakers’ front office can put a team around James and fellow superstar Anthony Davis that doesn’t require either of them to be playing through injury in the final weeks of the season just to make the play-in.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. 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 4 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.