This season has been injury-plagued from the jump for the Los Angeles Lakers with stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis being among those to miss significant time throughout the year.
When James has been on the court, he has played at an elite level still in his 19th season. But minor injuries have continued to hamper him, with the latest being an ankle sprain he suffered in the second quarter of Sunday night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
James was in the midst of another outstanding game with 25 first-half points and while he tried to play through the injury, it was clear he wasn’t at full strength. He finished with 39 points and the Lakers ultimately blew a 20-point halftime lead to take the loss.
After the game, James limped up to the podium to talk to the media with his ankle wrapped up and stated that it was feeling ‘horrible,’ leaving his status moving forward in question.
With ankle injuries though, you never really know how bad it is until the following day when the foot swells up. So Frank Vogel gave an update on James’ status during practice on Monday, and it’s looking unlikely that he will be able to play against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night given the quick turnaround.
“He definitely has some swelling from the ankle sprain and we’ll list him as doubtful for tomorrow,” Vogel said. “He stayed back from practice today to get treatment on it and he’ll be listed as doubtful.”
Without James for perhaps the foreseeable future, picking up wins will not be easy for this Lakers team.
Vogel used Monday’s practice to show his team the film from the Pelicans loss though to avoid something similar happening again, especially if they will be without James.
“I think the biggest lesson to learn is we haven’t played with a lot of leads this year, but when you smack a team and I commended our guys for how we came out to start the game. Playoff mindset. Brought the fight to our opponent. Played with offensive swag and confidence and I think the lesson to learn is when you get a big lead against a good team, they’re going to respond. They’re going to come out fighting in the second half and we didn’t handle the in-game adversity very well,” Vogel said.
“Obviously, we had our own adversity with LeBron’s injury and battling through that and seeing him tough it out there. But offensively, we didn’t move the ball and play for each other as well as we did in the first half in the second half and our defensive disposition and fight wasn’t was, and focus, quite frankly, wasn’t what it was to start the game. You got to do it for 48 minutes and especially when you got a lead, you got to anticipate that the other team is going to come out fighting and we didn’t handle that well.”
Davis completes full practice for first time
In addition to James now getting injured, the Lakers have been without their other star in Davis for more than a month now due to a similar foot injury.
It appears his return in on the horizon though, according to Vogel.
“Positive sign. He went through full practice,” Vogel said on Monday. “He did all of our drill work and did some live scrimmaging, so we’re at a point now where it’s really about how he responds to that and the level of soreness he has coming out of this first live work. He’ll also be listed as doubtful for tomorrow.”
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