When LeBron James suffered a groin strain against the Golden State Warriors, there were multiple reports about the severity of the injury and different return timetables.
As James ultimately missed 17 games over six weeks, he returned against the Los Angeles Clippers where he was one assist away from a triple-double in 40 minutes.
Since it was not ideal to play that many minutes in his return, James sat out the following game against the Warriors due to load management.
With the 2018-19 NBA season coming to a close, James reflected on what he would have done differently with the worst injury of his career in an exclusive interview with Allie Clifton of Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think I would have just tried to be a little bit more patient. I think along that way, I still rushed my body. My first major injury I’ve ever had in my life. I felt I could rush, rush, rush to get back. As soon as I felt OK… not saying I was at 100… soon as I felt OK, I needed to put a uniform on. I wanted to get this team to the postseason. I wanted to be out on the floor even if it was at the expense of reinjuring myself.”
Since James was shut down for the remainder of the season, his physical therapist suggested it should have been a season-ending injury. Even though the 34-year-old played 21 more games, it was evident at times he was not completely healthy.
With six months to prepare for the 2019-20 season, this may be a blessing in disguise for James. For the first time in eight seasons and playing significant minutes, James will have an opportunity to rest his body and help lead the Lakers back to championship contention in his 17th season.