The Los Angeles Lakers announced LeBron James will not play in the final six games of the 2018-19 NBA season, effectively ending Year 1 on March 30, 2019.
“After consulting with our team doctors and medical staff, we have decided to hold LeBron out of games for the remainder of the season,” president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement.
“This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.”
Although the 34-year-old returned from injury, he missed 17 games due to a left groin strain and 21 games overall — the most he has missed in his 16-year career.
While James ultimately missed six weeks, his physical therapist recently suggested it should have been a season-ending injury.
And when it became apparent the Lakers were not making the playoffs, James was then put on a minutes restriction and did not play in the second game of back-to-back situations.
Following three championships in eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances, James will now have two extra months to prepare for the 2019-20 season.
While it is extremely unfamiliar territory for James, he is looking forward to refreshing his mind and body at this stage of his career.
In Year 1 with the Lakers, James averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists while playing a career-low 35.2 minutes per game.
He will travel with the Lakers as they take on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans and Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder on their two-game road trip.