For the entirety of the Lakers’ run in the NBA playoffs, the team listed LeBron James on every single injury report they released with “right foot soreness,” which was a bit of an oversimplification of what James was actually playing through, even if his foot probably was sore from it. The issue stemmed from a torn tendon in his right foot, an injury he said every doctor he saw other than “The LeBron James of feet” told him would require surgery to heal.
Back when James returned, he also said that he would “get another MRI at the end of the season and go from there,” and that if he ultimately ended up “having to get surgery, you guys won’t know.”
That second part remains to be seen, given the massive media apparatus around both James and the Lakers, but what we do know is that he is still planning to get another MRI on that torn tendon he played through now that the season is over, naturally implying that the same surgery could still be on the table if it hasn’t healed well enough.
Longtime LeBron whisperer and ESPN NBA insider Dave McMenamin confirmed as much during his Wednesday appearance on “The Lowe Post” with Zach Lowe:
“We won’t know for sure (if he’ll retire) for a month, maybe even two months. He’s going to take some time here to be away from it, get that foot checked out. He told me he’s going to get an MRI on it, check to see how the tendon is healing. Obviously he was recommended surgery back in February and we’ll see if that ends up being the route he has to go.”
If James does indeed — as is widely expected — opt not to retire, McMenamin was still not sure how quickly he’d be back to working out if he did get surgery. However, it does sound like this procedure wouldn’t be the type of issue that would eat into the Lakers’ next training camp in October:
“I don’t (know the timetable). Back in February it was suggested that if he got it done, it would be very dicey if he would be able to return in time for the playoffs or not, so I think you’re probably looking at a couple month range.”
If there was even a minuscule chance James could have gotten this sewn up in early March and returned for the playoffs in April, this does not sound like the kind of surgery that will stop him from being ready for camp. So either way the MRI goes, and whether James chooses to have surgery on his tendon or not, it doesn’t seem like his availability going into next season will be in jeopardy from this if he doesn’t retire, which would obviously be the biggest basketball concern here.
We’ll see which direction James ultimately aims to go over the next few weeks. Or — as he suggested back in March — maybe we’ll never find out. Maybe he’ll just show up at training camp in the fall, with none of us ever knowing for certain if he went under the knife or not.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.