When LeBron James slipped in the third quarter of a Christmas Day matchup with the Golden State Warriors, the season flashed before the Los Angeles Lakers’ collective eyes. He was diagnosed with a groin strain and considered day-to-day.
There was initial optimism James would make a relatively speedy recovery, but his absence stretched nearly six weeks and a total of 17 games. The Lakers went 6-11 during that stretch, a majority of which was also played without Rajon Rondo because he too was injured on Christmas.
After steadily increasing his level of activity in practices and shootarounds, James returned Thursday against the Clippers. He admittedly eased his way into the game and proclaimed himself to be roughly 80 percent.
The 16-year veteran logged 40 minutes in the overtime win, and now won’t play Saturday against the Warriors as a means of managing his workload, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports:
LeBron James will not play tonight against the Warriors due to load management, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 3, 2019
Per ESPN’s Dave McMenanim, James dealing with soreness was a factor in deciding to rule him out:
Luke Walton says LeBron James “woke up pretty sore” after playing 40 minutes in his return to the court vs LAC. He is being held out tonight vs GSW, per the Lakers, for “load management.”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 3, 2019
With James sitting the night out, he will have had four days of rest before the Lakers’ road trip resumes Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers.
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