Just when the Los Angeles Lakers really started to find a groove, they suffered a setback as LeBron James hurt his right foot.
James was able to gut through the injury in an inspired comeback win against the Dallas Mavericks but was later ruled out for the remainder of their road trip. After a few days, the 38-year-old was diagnosed with a right foot tendon injury and will be reevaluated in three weeks.
Missing James for any stretch of time puts Los Angeles’ playoff hopes in serious jeopardy, though they’ve managed to stay competitive so far in his absence. Darvin Ham emphasized that he wants his star to take all the time he needs to get fully healthy and that the players available understand they need to collectively step up.
“His situation is what it is. We released a statement [on his status] and we stand by it, there are not other updates. His situation is what it is and if it wasn’t for him and his play, we wouldn’t be this close to have a chance to improve going forward. So just want him to take his time and be in line with the medical staff and do what he needs to do to get back as quickly as possible. So the guys know that everybody needs to step up, all of us.”
James’s health is of the utmost importance regardless of what’s at stake for the Lakers. Although three weeks is more than half of their remaining games, L.A. has enough talent and depth to weather the storm and keep them in the Play-In Tournament race.
In the meantime, Anthony Davis must be the focal point of the purple and gold’s gameplan each and every night. Davis looks all the way back from his stress reaction injury and has enough help around him to make things work.
Hopefully James is able to return sooner rather than later, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Lakers fare in the short-term.
Shaquille O’Neal makes hilarious bet on Lakers’ playoff hopes
Since the trade deadline, things have broken in favor of L.A. when it comes to the Western Conference standings. They’ve strung enough wins together to make a real run at one of the Play-In Tournament spots while teams around them have started to falter down the stretch.
To that end, Shaquille O’Neal was so confident his former team would make the postseason that he agreed to wear a Dillon Brooks pre-game outfit if they missed it.
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