The Los Angeles Lakers appeared to be hitting their stride three weeks ago, punctuated with a blowout win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. However, it came at a significant cost as LeBron James suffered a strained groin in the third quarter.
He attempted to stretch and remain in the game before walking gingerly to the locker room. James was initially deemed day-to-day and there was optimism with respect to the severity of the injury.
While James avoided a significant tear of the groin, his recovery has been a steady process that’s now cost him 11 games. Including Sunday’s win over the struggling Chicago Bulls, the Lakers are 4-7 without James.
That is expected to stretch to a 13-game absence, as agent Rich Paul said James is not expected to so much as travel with the Lakers for their road trip when they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
LeBron James will miss at least the next two games for the Los Angeles Lakers as he continues to rehabilitate a strained left groin, his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, told ESPN on Tuesday.
James participated in Tuesday’s shootaround, but was limited to half-court shooting and passing. He was seen by media going through a shooting competition with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he expected the team to receive “good news” when James is re-evaluated Wednesday, but did not elaborate on that sentiment. With the upcoming two games ruled out, James’ next opportunity to return will come Monday when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors.
Should James indeed reach 13 games missed, it will tie for most in his career (previously set during the 2014-15 season). James’ 11 consecutive missed games are the most he’s been out since missing eight in a row because of back and knee trouble during the aforementioned 2014-15 campaign.
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