Without the services of Anthony Davis, the Lakers now have another All-Star forward.
LeBron James will be out indefinitely after sustaining an ankle injury during a March game against the Hawks. Los Angeles may fall through the Western Conference standings with Davis and James out, but the main concern is getting the dynamic duo ready for the 2021 NBA playoffs as the team chase back-to-back titles.
What’s next for James? Here’s everything we know about his injury and the latest news on when he can return to the court.
MORE: Key stats you need to know in the MJ vs LeBron debate
What is LeBron James’ injury?
Early in the second quarter of a March 20 game between the Lakers and Hawks, Atlanta forward Solomon Hill lunged for a loose ball and collided with James. It seemed to roll onto James’s right ankle, and the four-time MVP screamed in pain as he fell to the ground.
James tried to stay in the game and even hit a corner 3-pointer when play resumed, but the Lakers eventually called for a timeout after it became clear that he was struggling to move up and down the court. James then walked straight back to the locker room, knocking over a chair in frustration as he made his way down the Staples Center tunnel. He did not return, and the Lakers lost by a final score of 99-94, snapping a four-game winning streak.
The Lakers announced after the game that James had been diagnosed with an upper right ankle sprain and will be out indefinitely. X-rays on James’ ankle came back negative, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Nothing angers and saddens me more than being unavailable to and for my teammates!” James tweeted after the diagnosis. “I am hurt inside and out right now. The road back from recovery begins now. I return soon as if I was never gone.”
Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates! I am hurt inside and out right now. 🤦🏾♂️. The road back to recovery begins now. I come back soon like I never left. #ChildofAKRON🤴🏾
– LeBron James (@KingJames) March 21, 2021
How long will LeBron James be out?
The short answer: It’s too early to know when James will be able to rejoin the Lakers’ starting lineup. The average time lost to an ankle sprain over the past seven 82-game seasons has been approximately 10 games, according to injury expert Jeff Stotts. However, Stotts noted that a quicker comeback is possible.
From its breakdown of 2018 Klay Thompson’s ankle sprain:
The recovery schedule for ankle sprains varies widely based on a number of factors including the severity of the damage, the affected joint, and any other accompanying injuries. Treatment for an upper ankle sprain is the same as for a normal medial or lateral ankle sprain, but generally takes longer to heal. A big reason for this prolonged recovery time is related to impaired general stability and possible widening of the ankle mortise.
Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles has struggled when davis and james sit down, but the Lakers are not so worried about his sowing as they are with having a healthy roster heading into the postseason. They are likely to be extremely cautious when it comes to James’ recovery timeline.
LeBron James statistics for the 2020-21 season
- 25.8 points per game
- 8.1 rebounds per game
- 8.0 assists per game
- 1.1 steals per game
- 3.8 turnovers per game
- 34.5 minutes per game
- 51.3 percent of shots
- 36.7 percent from 3-point shots
- 69.9 percent free throws
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.