During the Los Angeles Lakers five-game road trip, LeBron James suffered a thoracic muscle strain against the Indiana Pacers and a ‘nagging’ groin issue was later revealed.
While James missed his first game of the 2019-20 NBA season against the Denver Nuggets, he quickly returned against the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day. However, he reaggravated the injury after attempting to draw a charge on Patrick Beverley early in the game.
Although the injury is on the opposite side of the one James suffered against the Golden State Warriors last season, he does need to be cautious at this stage of his career.
Despite the Lakers currently on a four-game losing streak, members of the organization reportedly have approached James now, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Even though the Lakers are now riding a season-worst, four-game losing streak, several members of the organization already have approached James about the urgency to sit out and rehab his groin injury until he feels fully recovered, sources told ESPN.
However, it appears James is ‘on track’ to play against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first game of a back-to-back situation, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Good news for the Lakers: LeBron James (groin) will travel with the team to Portland and is on track to play on Saturday against the Trail Blazers, league sources say. James is said to be feeling fine enough to play after receiving treatment on Thursday. He re-aggravated his groin injury in the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers.
At the end of the day, James knows his body best and will play as long as he can amid the load management debates.
Since the Lakers have a two-game lead on the Clippers for the best record in the Western Conference, it does make sense for James to use this time to get completely healthy.
As James suffered the first significant injury of his career in his first season in Los Angeles, there are obviously concerns as he is set to turn 35 years old on Dec. 30.
In order for the Lakers to reach their ultimate goals, it is no secret James and Anthony Davis need to stay relatively healthy. While there is pride in playing every game possible, the Lakers will be cautious with their two All-Star players.