The Los Angeles Lakers have to feel fortunate to be in the position they’re in, especially after LeBron James missed several weeks due to a torn tendon in his right foot.
Without James, the Lakers managed to win out and put themselves squarely in the Play-In Tournament race. In fact, they have an outside shot of avoiding the Play-In entirely, though that’ll require them to win out the rest of the way.
James was able to return earlier than most expected from his foot injury and he won his first game since returning against the Chicago Bulls. In order to manage his health, Darvin Ham and the coaching staff have him on a minutes restriction to which the Lakers star quipped he’s seen his playing time managed for the past decade, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I’ve been on a minutes restriction for like 10 years now. Seriously., seriously. If you ask any of my coaches last 10 years, I’ve been on a minutes restriction for the last 10 years. Coaches have been putting me on minutes restrictions for 10 straight years.”
As far as his minutes restriction goes, James believes he should be back up to speed by the end of Los Angeles’ five-game trip:
“Obviously, I want to continue to build up my stamina. Physically I feel pretty good, I’m still getting a little of my quick-twitch, my bounce back. That’ll take a couple more games, so I think by the end of the road trip I should be pretty good.”
How James is able to look this good on the floor in just a few weeks is nothing short of amazing, especially when considering he still may need to have surgery in the offseason. The 38-year-old is one of the best in NBA history at taking care of his body, though, so it shouldn’t be this much of a surprise that he can bounce back from things as quickly as he does.
With the Western Conference seemingly wide open, James probably sensed that this season is worth going full throttle for and hopefully he and the Lakers’ gamble pays off with a deep postseason run.
D’Angelo Russell felt no pain in hip in return against Bulls
Aside from James, Los Angeles had also been missing D’Angelo Russell who was dealing with a hip injury following their win against the Phoenix Suns. Russell returned to the starting lineup against the Bulls and afterwards said that he didn’t feel any pain in his hip.
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