Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has missed the last nine games with a strained left groin and in his absence, the team has won just three games, putting the Lakers at eighth place in the Western Conference with a 23-20 record. As noted on Thursday by Sports Illustrated, James appears to be making good time on his recovery and is expected to be out for another week or so. However, a more recent tweet from Basketball Society and Heavy writer Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson suggests that the four-time NBA MVP’s might miss much more time than originally expected.
On Friday, Robinson took to Twitter to cite a Lakers source, who told him that James’ injury is “more complex” than what reports had previously suggested. Per Robinson’s source, it’s possible that LeBron could “rush back” and return to action by the end of January. However, the tweet cautioned that James might also have to remain on the sidelines “until the end of February, or even longer.”
Based on what the Los Angeles Lakers have officially disclosed, it’s almost certain that LeBron James’ injury will keep him out of the team’s upcoming home games against the struggling Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. However, USA Today’s LeBron Wire noted that Los Angeles’ next three home games will be against formidable opponents — the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Golden State Warriors. According to the publication, this could pose a challenge to James, assuming he’s healthy enough to play in those games, though the Lakers might still have to prepare for the possibility of a longer absence.
“As much as James is staying positive and sticking to his rehabilitation plan, the nature of his injury and the mileage he’s racked up over his 16-year career might dictate that James is out longer than he’s ever been before,” LeBron Wire wrote.
Meanwhile, Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been playing it coy with regard to possible timelines for James’ recovery and return. As quoted by the Los Angeles Times, Walton didn’t reveal much, aside from echoing the Lakers’ announcement that James is scheduled to be reevaluated on Wednesday and promising that LeBron will be reactivated once he’s “cleared and ready to go.”
With averages of 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists in the 34 games prior to his injury, LeBron James currently leads the Lakers in all three statistical categories. As shown on his Basketball-Reference page, James has never missed more than 13 games in a season, making his current nine-game absence the second longest overall in his entire career.