Home Los Angeles News Report: Lakers’ LeBron James could miss weeks with foot injury

Report: Lakers’ LeBron James could miss weeks with foot injury

Report: Lakers’ LeBron James could miss weeks with foot injury

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Lakers’ quest to splash back into the postseason mix might have taken a brutal hit on Sunday night, amid the throes of one of the most enthralling wins of the season.

In the third quarter of an eventual 111-108 comeback win against the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James landed awkwardly on his right foot and grabbed at it while writhing on the ground. Now, the team might have to play a good chunk of its remaining 21 regular-season games without the 38-year-old star.

The Athletic was first to report that James’ foot injury might cost him weeks in a regular season with only six weeks remaining. While James played through the fourth quarter on the injury, even going 5 for 9 from the field with a team-high 11 points in a massive comeback against the Mavericks, the report indicated that James’ foot will require “multiple opinions.”

James emphasized the seriousness of the injury on his Instagram account: posting a video of his right foot wrapped up in multiple layers in his Memphis hotel room, with an uninspiring but colorful caption.

The injury itself was noncontact, and James was overheard on TV microphones saying shortly after the fall that he heard “a pop.” Coach Darvin Ham said after the game he had not personally heard James characterize the injury that way.

Aside from casting doubt over James’ ability to play out the rest of the regular season, the injury is a serious blow to the scrapping Lakers (29-32), who were in 12th place in the Western Conference as of Monday morning with the ambition to climb to the No. 6 seed or higher. The Lakers were 2½ games out of the six seed and a game out of the No. 10 seed, the last play-in spot. They’ve been battling from the back of the standings all season long.

A trade deadline roster reshuffle had given rising hope to the Lakers: They are 4-1 since acquiring five new players, including D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley, all of whom have played in the starting lineup in the last three games. James had been dealing with a left foot injury before the All-Star break, playing in three wins since the deadline.

Part of the reason James played through injury was the team’s mounting urgency to win, he said.

“It’s been better, that’s for sure,” James said of his foot injury on Sunday night. “But I definitely wasn’t going to go to the locker room and not finish the game out tonight. Just understood the importance of the game and then with the momentum that we had, I felt like we could still win after being down. We’ll monitor it the next couple days, see how it feels and go from there.”

James is the team’s leading scorer (29.5 ppg) and playmaker (6.9 apg), as well as one of the leading rebounders (8.4 rpg). While he’s missed 14 of the team’s 61 games so far, he’s generally been the Lakers’ best player, and more available than teammate Anthony Davis, who has missed 24 games.

The Lakers are also expected to see Russell (right ankle sprain) miss additional time: The 27-year-old guard was listed as doubtful for the team’s Tuesday night game in Memphis. They’ll have one more road game in Oklahoma City before returning to L.A. for a five-game homestand.

The Lakers do have the benefit of one of the NBA’s easiest remaining schedules, with a .479 remaining opponent record. But they’ll play critical games against teams narrowly ahead of them in the standings over the next few weeks: Minnesota, Golden State, New Orleans and Dallas all before March 18.

James has a legacy throughout his 20-year career of being available, one of the reasons he was able to eclipse the NBA’s career scoring record earlier this month. But in his tenure with the Lakers during his mid- to late-30s, he’s struggled to stay healthy: He has missed 98 games in five seasons as a Laker (sitting out in Memphis will be his 99th), playing in 73% of all possible games. He missed just 71 games over his first NBA 15 seasons.