The Los Angeles Lakers have already been missing a number of key guys due to injury, and they had another scare involving LeBron James in the first quarter of Friday night’s In-Season Tournament opener against the Phoenix Suns.
On a drive to the basket, James appeared to bang legs with Kevin Durant and came up hobbling. He was able to shoot his free throws but then was removed from the game, receiving treatment on the bench.
LeBron never went back to the locker room, which was a good sign. After getting his shin area massaged for a bit, he was able to return to the game and had a stellar night, leading the Lakers to their first road victory with 32 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.
Even though he had a great game though, James was still hobbling a bit throughout and clearly didn’t look like he was 100%. He gave an update on how he was feeling after the game and admitted that he was a bit sore after his shin wasn’t able to get loose for the remainder of the night, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It never loosened up. But I was driving and awkwardly, KD’s knee, the force of that went right into my shin, which pretty much just locked up right then and there. Shot down to my foot so I just tried to obviously keep my composure and make sure everything was OK and tried to keep it stretched out as much as possible, tried to keep it as loose as possible so I could play the game and be effective. So pretty sore right now obviously because the adrenaline is calming down. I’ve iced it and all that stuff so now it’s pretty sore but that’s what happened on the play.”
Even though it doesn’t seem to be anything serious, this will definitely be something to monitor leading up to the Lakers’ next game.
The team has the day off on Saturday so LeBron will likely continue to get treatment on the shin. They then return home and host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night, so hopefully James is able to make enough progress by then to be able to suit up.
Given how early it is in the season though, he likely won’t push it if the shin is still feeling sore on Sunday.
In-Season Tournament Western Conference Group A standings
The Lakers’ win on Friday night was a big one as it was their first game of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.
L.A. was placed in Group A of the Western Conference and the full standings after the first week of games can be viewed here.
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