As Lakers fans watched in horror as LeBron James writhed in pain and said he “heard it pop” while laying on the ground on Sunday, it appears it may have all happened under a ticking clock.
LeBron had never been listed on the injury report with any sort of right foot injury as it was his left foot that had been the cause of concern. However, Sunday was reportedly not a new injury for that foot. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, James suffered the injury initially in January and had been playing through the pain.
“LeBron James is expected to miss an indefinite amount of time… I’m told likely at least 2 or 3 weeks” @ShamsCharania with the latest on LeBron’s foot injury #RunItBack pic.twitter.com/nk2BpXx0Cd— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) February 28, 2023
For all the plaudits rained down on Rob Pelinka and the front office for their work at the trade deadline, it’s hard not to look at the opening roughly 50 games of the season and ask “Was it worth it?” especially now considering the fact it seems like LeBron had to play through injury to keep a subpar roster afloat.
The end result of waiting until February to make a trade is it may have come at the cost of LeBron’s availability in the most important stretch of the season. For now, the exact timeline of his return is unclear. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported he would be reassessed in two weeks, but according to Jared Greenberg on TNT ahead of Tuesday’s game against Memphis, all of that is just guessing games right now.
"We've heard so many reports throughout the day of LeBron could be back or reassessed in the next 2-3 weeks...At this point...that is simply just a guess."@JaredSGreenberg shares the latest on LeBron's timeline pic.twitter.com/vor0gsulZx— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 1, 2023
It’s a frustrating story that has been told a number of times in recent years when it comes to LeBron. As much as the Lakers talk about not wanting to put heavy minutes on LeBron in the offseason and preseason, it’s been quite the opposite in practice.
The minutes continue to pile up on him and his body continues to break down, this time in maybe the worst moment yet. Whether it costs them a spot in the postseason will be seen but it’s something you would hope the front office would learn from at some point moving forward.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.