The Los Angeles Lakers welcomed back LeBron James to the lineup on Sunday as the team hosted the Chicago Bulls. While the Lakers saw their three-game win streak end, LeBron himself had a solid showing overall, finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench.
James’ return was a bit of a surprise as there was little evidence that he would be back on the court so quickly for the Lakers. He did speak about the severity of the injury after the contest, revealing that he had indeed torn a tendon in his right foot and that two different doctors suggested season-ending surgery.
But after seeing a third doctor, LeBron went down a different path that didn’t involve surgery immediately although the Lakers star could still need to go under the knife down after the season.
“I don’t know,” LeBron said when asked if he will need offseason surgery. “Right now, I don’t need it, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll probably get another MRI at the end of the season and go from there. But if end up having to get surgery after the season, you guys won’t know. I don’t talk to you guys in the offseason and by the time next season starts I’ll be fine and ready to go.”
The fact that LeBron did tear a tendon would seem to indicate that he is still less than 100% even though he is back on the court. The Lakers star is simply able to manage the injury much better at this point, but there could still be the potential of the injury getting worse.
James putting off surgery for the sake of this potential playoff run shows his commitment to this Lakers team and his belief in their ability to make a run. It also shows his toughness as he obviously puts a lot of pressure on his feet any time he steps on the court and no one knows what kind of pain he is dealing with.
But for the time being, LeBron is focused on the Lakers and their playoff hopes this season and he will worry about the offseason when that time comes.
Anthony Davis believes LeBron James returning this early gives Lakers time to gel
The Lakers had undoubtedly gotten used to life without James as players settled and thrived in new roles. Getting him back in the lineup means more adjustments need to be made, but Anthony Davis thinks him coming back when he did gives the Lakers the time to do just that.
“Obviously, like I said, he’s a big part of our team,” Davis said of LeBron. “Him coming back with eight games left, it gives us the time to work out the kinks that we have when a guy misses so much time. It gives him time to get back in a rhythm of things for his game.
“Then two games left, three games left. Even though he’s a hell of a player, he can use one game and be fine. But we’ll be fine. Like I said, we’ve got another one against these guys on Wednesday, but we know these last seven we’ve got to come out and play with more of a sense of desperation.”
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