For over three weeks now, the Los Angeles Lakers have been playing without LeBron James in their lineup, as the 34-year-old forward continues to miss time with what has been described as a strained groin. However, the latest update on James suggests that the injury might be more serious than originally reported and that the four-time MVP might have to miss another two months of action or so.
On Wednesday, the Athletic‘s Sam Amick took to Twitter to summarize his latest report for the subscriber-only publication, sharing a screenshot of quotes from James’ agent, Rich Paul. As seen in the screenshot, Paul explained that James is “itching to play,” but is at a point where he has to “do the right thing” and choose the right time to return to the court. While James’ injury was still referred to as a “Grade 2 groin strain” that was said to require three to six weeks of recovery time, Paul pointed out that a tendon issue is at the center of it all and that LeBron, despite the Lakers’ recent struggles, isn’t ready to make his return just yet.
“This is a tendon. It’s not a shoulder, or an ankle, or an elbow. The smart thing to do is to do the smart thing. You can’t allow media, or the fact that the team might be losing, to dictate what’s best for you, and we won’t. He’s progressing. [But] he’s not ready yet.”
Third returns are in for the 2019 All-Star game, and LeBron is still way out in fronthttps://t.co/Jdwrye0rox— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 17, 2019
In response to Amick’s tweet, former Los Angeles Chargers head team doctor David Chao clarified the issue further, explaining on Twitter that LeBron James might have to miss another six to eight weeks “or longer,” assuming that the injury is related to a tendon tear and not a mere muscle strain. Should the timeline be accurate, this would prevent James from playing in the NBA’s All-Star game next month, and also keep him out of action until the first half of March, at the earliest.
As noted by ClutchPoints, the Los Angeles Lakers are now at the ninth place in the Western Conference with a 4-7 record minus James, who suffered the groin injury during the team’s Christmas Day game versus the Golden State Warriors. While the Lakers confirmed on Wednesday that James will be able to return to practice next week, the team has yet to announce a definitive timeline for his return, as he remains on track to miss the most games in a season over his 16-year NBA career.
Prior to his injury, LeBron James was averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists and leading the Los Angeles Lakers in all three categories. Per ClutchPoints, he was also shooting 51.8 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from three-point range before getting hurt.