Even though the Los Angeles Lakers were able to make a comeback against the Houston Rockets, they did not come out unscathed as LeBron James suffered an abdominal injury.
James briefly exited the contest before finishing out the fourth quarter, but the injury he suffered was apparently enough for the team to rule him out against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. The 36-year-old is expected to miss at least a week of action, which is never a good sign this early into the season.
While he is not expected to miss too much time, head coach Frank Vogel admitted he is a little worried about the star. “Any time LeBron’s out, and he’s gonna miss some time, there’s obviously concern. But hopefully this is something that’s minimal and hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
When watching the game against the Rockets, there does not seem to be a clear moment where the injury occurred, and Vogel revealed James himself is unsure when it happened.
“Yeah, he doesn’t know exactly what happened. He just said that he came out of the game at that whatever, six or five-minute mark or something, in the fourth quarter. When he went to the bench he said something like he felt something pulling. Was able to finish the game but then obviously discovered that there was something there after the game.”
Either way, James is now on the shelf for the next few games, which means the Lakers will need to heavily on Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to get the job done. The two stars have been finding a groove the past week so it will be fun to see if they can carry the burden in James’ absence.
Vogel believes addition of Westbrook will help when James is out
With James off the floor, Westbrook will revert back to handling most of the playmaking and ballhandling duties for Los Angeles. Vogel acknowledged that in situations like these where James is not available, the Lakers are able to stay afloat.
“We want those guys to get as many minutes as they can together, but this is one of the reasons we all felt good about trading for Russell is being able to handle stretches where we don’t have LeBron or AD a lot better than we did last year. Obviously he had a great game in San Antonio last week, we were on track there for the second game in a row against [OKC]. Hopefully we’ll see Russell have the ball in his hands the way he’s more accustomed to.”
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