The Los Angeles Lakers announced that star forward LeBron James has been ruled out of Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to a rectus abdominis strain.
James appeared to have aggravated the injury in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s win over the Houston Rockets. He was forced to be removed from the game, grabbing at his midsection, although he quickly returned and helped finish out the victory.
Because James returned to the game, the hope was that he avoided any sort of injury, although it now appears that is not the case.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, James will miss more than just Thursday’s game as the Lakers want to be cautious to avoid a more serious injury:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 4, 2021
Thursday will mark the third game James has missed this season as he sat out the two-game road trip against the San Antonio Spurs and Thunder due to an ankle sprain.
The Lakers, of course, blew a 26-point lead and lost that game against the Thunder, so they will have to get their revenge on Thursday night without him once again.
It’s obviously not ideal to see James already missing so much time in his 19th season at age 36. Considering the Lakers’ goal is winning a championship though, it makes sense to allow him to get to 100% to ensure he doesn’t suffer a more significant injury.
In James’ absence, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis will have to continue to carry the load over the next week. This was one of the reasons they went out and added another playmaker in Westbrook, so they can stay competitive if James misses time.
Vogel doesn’t see difference in James from two years ago
As far as James’ play on the court when he has been healthy, head coach Frank Vogel hasn’t noticed any sort of decline in his game from two years ago when he started coaching him.
“I wouldn’t say there is any difference now than two years ago. He’s still playing at a super high level. Until he rolled his ankle the other day, he was probably shooting the ball better than two years ago. I don’t know if the numbers support that, but he came out of the gates super-hot. He’s still going.”
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