As LeBron James played the first 29 games of the 2019-20 NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers, he did not play against the Denver Nuggets after a five-game road trip.
Despite James suffering a thoracic muscle strain against the Indiana Pacers, he still played against the Milwaukee Bucks, but it unfortunately resulted in back-to-back losses.
Along with the thoracic muscle strain, the 34-year-old reportedly has been dealing with a ‘nagging’ groin issue.
Despite the current circumstances, James is reportedly expected to play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
James missed his first game of the season Sunday while dealing with a thoracic muscle strain — a pull in the rib cage area — as well as a nagging groin issue, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. He is listed as day-to-day by the Lakers with the Christmas game on the horizon. However, a source close to James told ESPN he expected the star to be in the lineup.
James recently previewed the Christmas Day matchup between the two teams after their Opening Night loss:
“It’s two fierce teams, for sure. It’s two competitive teams. Two competitive coaching staffs. So, you can expect a lot of competition. And may the best team that night win. You don’t know how the ball is going to go in, you don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of who is going to play well and things of that nature, but both teams want to win,” James said. “But it’s not the end of a season. It doesn’t mark what the team is going to be for the remainder of the season on a Christmas Day game.”
Although James may return to the starting lineup after missing just one game, much of the attention is on Anthony Davis. Late in the third quarter, Davis slipped on a wet spot, appeared to twist his leg, but returned for the fourth quarter.
As it currently stands, it is unclear if both teams will be healthy on Christmas Day. In the first game of the new season, Paul George did not play due to offseason surgery.
Regardless of the situation, the Lakers will look to avoid losing four consecutive games. Davis has set the goal of not losing back-to-back games again this season.