Injuries have continuously riddled the NBA this year, and this weekend seized one of the biggest names in the game. That name being LeBron James. On Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks, James was forced to leave the game after twisting his ankle during the second quarter. While trying to secure a loose ball, Hawks forward Solomon Hill fell on top of James’ right ankle, causing James to crumble in pain.
NBA injury: medial/high ankle sprain (syndesmosis injury) mechanism for Lebron James as foot twists out. Most require 2-6 weeks to return to play, obviously good signs he was able to play on momentarily (likely swelling then started to set in) pic.twitter.com/ggY5AvfvKE— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) March 20, 2021
With LeBron out, and Anthony Davis still recovering from a calf strain, there isn’t a standout leader steering the LA ship, which this roster is entirely constructed around. To be honest, the injury doesn’t look ‘that critical’ as he’ll likely miss a month of games, but the timing for LA is the biggest issue.
Right now, the Western Conference is heating up with every team fighting for their lives in the battle for postseason positioning. The Lakers had some breathing space before James’ injury, but now that has completely vanished.
The Lakers currently sit third in the West and are only two games ahead of the Clippers and four games ahead of the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. If LA can’t find some rhythm and start winning games without their leaders on the floor, the Lakers could slip down the standings and cause more significant issues to come. Their two games without James thus far have been their worst defensive game of the season (March 3 at Sacramento, when they allowed the Kings to score 123 points on 96 possessions) and their worst offensive game of the season (Sunday in Phoenix, when they scored just 94 on 99). This will be interesting to monitor.
Catch you Thursday.