Possibly the only negative to come from the Los Angeles Lakers’ complete domination of the Minnesota Timberwolves was a brief moment late in the second quarter that saw LeBron James step on the foot of Jarred Vanderbilt and turn his left ankle.
James would remain on the floor, walking it off just before the half and came out for the start of the third quarter looking just fine on his way to 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. But with the Lakers facing a back-to-back, James’ status for the next game may be up in the air.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said the team will list James as questionable for Monday’s matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers with that ankle, which is the same one he tweaked on Christmas Day against the Dallas Mavericks. James will surely have round-the-clock treatment on that ankle, though it is unclear whether that will include some more wine.
“It’s been better, but it feels pretty good. Once I go to sleep and lay down, will be the tell tale sign of how good or not good it is,” James said. “I don’t want to say I’m looking forward to that, but we’ll see [Monday].”
For his part, Vogel said that he wasn’t yet “leaning one way or the other” on playing James against the Blazers and that it will come down to how he is feeling after a night of treatment. But Vogel did add that, “if he’s healthy and wants to play, we’ll put him in there.”
Unfortunately for the Lakers he isn’t the only player who left the game with a minor injury as reserve guard Alex Caruso strained a muscle in his hand and is also listed as questionable for Monday’s game against the Blazers.
Caruso played just 11 minutes in the win over the Timberwolves and did not see the floor in the second half. “Alex probably could’ve returned if it was a closer game, but we erred on the side of caution,” Vogel said.
The injury bug is something that will be closely monitored throughout the season, especially with the veterans and stars like James and Anthony Davis, who is still dealing with a calf contusion. But that is also why the Lakers brought in the depth that they did for this season, which has been on full display so far.
LeBron makes light of airballed free throw
James’ struggles at the free throw line have been well noted throughout the years and they came to light once again after he airballed a free throw. But LeBron was able to make fun of the situation, being sure to note that his love of wine had nothing to do with it.
“I said the other night when I drink the wine goes straight down to the left side of my body,” James noted. “Tonight, I shot the free throw with my right hand, so it did not have bad side effects.
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