Lakers forward LeBron James could miss several weeks with an injury to his right foot, as reported by the Associated Press.
The exact nature of the injury isn’t certain and more test results haven’t been confirmed. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James will have more tests on the injured foot, and the Lakers would be without their all-star for an extended period. However, neither the Lakers nor James talked about how much time he could miss.
James has been ruled out of the game against Memphis today after playing 37 minutes in a 111-108 comeback win over Dallas. James scored 26 points and added eight rebounds as the Lakers erased a 27-point deficit. He left the arena with a noticeable limp.
The injury occurred in the third quarter. James grabbed his ankle while on the floor, clearly in pain. Despite the injury, he remained in the game, noting how important the game was to the Lakers, who, at 29-32, are still in the mix for the playoffs, despite currently being 12th in the Western Conference. They are just 2 ½ games back of Dallas for a guaranteed playoff spot.
James, who became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer earlier in the month, leads the Lakers in scoring (29.5), rebounding (8.4), assists (6.9), steals (0.9), and blocked shots (0.6), in his 20th NBA season.
Should James miss significant time, the Lakers’ road to the postseason becomes that much more daunting. The Lakers have 12 games remaining at home and 9 games on the road. Their schedule isn’t terribly challenging, with just ten games against teams with winning records the rest of the way. The key is to stay within striking distance of 6th in the conference until James returns.
The Lakers won the NBA Finals in 2019-2020, but have missed the playoffs seven of the last nine years. To put it in perspective, the franchise only missed the playoffs five times from 1948 through 2013.