The Los Angeles Lakers have announced LeBron James will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season after further evaluation of his ankle injury.
James sprained his ankle on March 27, in the 116-108 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Although the 37-year-old remained on the floor until the end of the clash, he then missed the following two games with the injury.
The four-time NBA champion returned for another matchup with the Pelicans on April 1, as the Lakers still battled for Play-In Tournament qualification. But after L.A. lost to New Orleans again, James said his ankle was still “pretty sore” and hasn’t been on the floor ever since.
And the Lakers say the All-Star forward will miss the two remaining games of the 2021-22 season to continue his rehab.
“LeBron James’ left ankle was recently evaluated by Lakers medical staff, and it was determined that due to the ankle sprain James suffered in a game on March 27th, he will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 NBA season to allow for continue healing and an expected full recovery,” L.A. said in a statement.
Even though James’ absence won’t impact the Lakers, who have been eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention, the announcement is significant for the forward himself. The All-Star will miss out on the 2021-22 scoring title having failed to play the 58 games that are required to qualify for the honor.
James ends his season with 56 games under his belt, averaging 30.1 points (the second-highest average of his career), 8.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. Also, the 2021-22 campaign will be the forward’s most winning-less one, as James’ teams have never racked up less than 35 games in a season before.
Anthony Davis thought Lakers could win championship before injuries piled up
The Lakers suffered from plenty of injuries in 2021-22. In addition to James’ missing 26 games with knee, ankle, and abdomen problems, Anthony Davis has missed half of this season’s games with MCL and mid-foot sprains.
Davis thinks the injuries were the main reason behind the Lakers’ struggles. The 29-year-old forward believed the Purple and Gold were approaching the campaign with a championship-worthy team.
“When we first put this team together and first came to training camp, I think everybody was healthy, I think maybe [Trevor Ariza] was the only one [that wasn’t]. But our goal was to win a championship,” the 29-year-old says.
“We feel like we had the pieces but injuries got in the way of that. That’s the difference in our season. I think even though we lost games where all of us were on the floor, me, Bron, and Russ, I think we’re three great players where we would’ve figured it out if we logged more minutes together.
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