Despite returning to the court on Friday alongside Anthony Davis, LeBron James will not be playing in Sunday’s game for the Lakers against the Nuggets. The sprained ankle that originally sidelined him a pair of games last week will keep him sidelined against Denver as well, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Lakers star LeBron James will be out today vs. Nuggets as he deals with nagging ankle injury, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The Lakers are currently one game behind San Antonio for the final Play-In spot.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 3, 2022
Prior to the game, head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that James would be out with just roughly 36 hours between games on Friday and Sunday.
“Had ankle soreness from the other night,” Vogel said. “This is essentially like a back-to-back with an early start and won’t be able to go today.”
Even with James and Davis, the Lakers fell on Friday to the Pelicans, a loss with significant consequences for their play-in hopes. After the game, James spoke about his ankle and expressed some pessimism that he could be ready for Sunday afternoon’s game, a quicker-than-usual turnaround.
“For me personally it’s to just start working on this ankle, obviously,” James said. “It’s pretty sore right now... Hopefully it reacts the proper way for me in the morning when I wake up and I have no setbacks, so for me that’s the most important thing.”
James has been nursing multiple injuries to the finish line this season, the sprained ankle the most recent among them. Lingering soreness in his left knee has led to him missing games as well down the stretch.
The underlying aspect through all of this is the play-in game that the Lakers have watched slip out of their hands over the last month. Heading into Sunday’s game, the Lakers were a game out of the 10th seed with five games remaining. The Spurs, who sit ahead of the Lakers, play the Trail Blazers on Sunday evening.
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