On top of a gut punch of a loss in Game 2 vs. the Nuggets, the Lakers also saw LeBron James go down with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter of the contest. As he always does, LeBron played through it but after the game, Darvin Ham noted that he was being evaluated by the training staff after the game.
“Can’t really speak on it right now,” Ham said of LeBron’s injury. “He’s being evaluated. So we’ll see. It will be hard to keep him out of this mix though.”
LeBron himself spoke postgame and made his status on Game 3 clear.
LeBron James tells @NBAonTNT “I’ll be ready on Sunday. I just stepped on the foot of AG. Nothing is keeping me from playing.”— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 19, 2023
LeBron James twisted his left ankle late in Game 2 by stepping on Aaron Gordon’s foot. He was evaluated after the game but Saturday’s Game 3 isn’t in question. “They’re still there,” he told ESPN, pulling a towel off his ankles. “A little ankle isn’t going to stop me”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 19, 2023
LeBron on his ankle: “I think I stepped on somebody’s foot, maybe Aaron Gordon, underneath the basket. I’ll be fine.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) May 19, 2023
LeBron looked to initially injure his ankle stepping on Jamal Murray’s foot during a fastbreak in the first half. He used his shoe-tightening super powers to step in the game and didn’t look hampered afterward.
Then in the fourth, LeBron jumped up to challenge for a rebound and came down on AD’s foot, this time turning the ankle even more and crumpling to the ground entirely. Once again, though, he went to his Wolverine powers and tightened his shoe laces again. And, yet again, he didn’t appear to be affected by the injury.
The left ankle is the one he injured in Game 2, but it’s the right foot that had the tendon injury that could still require surgery at the end of the season, so there shouldn’t be any issue there. Returning home and having the opportunity to rest, recuperate, and rehab in Los Angeles should also help him bounce back.
The Lakers, obviously, will need him for a number of reasons on Saturday, as they trail 2-0 and will now need to win four of the next five games to advance back to the NBA Finals.
It’ll be an uphill climb for the Lakers, but the Lakers will have LeBron to do so.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.