LeBron James injury update: Lakers star day-to-day with ankle soreness as team faces tough final stretch

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While the Los Angeles Lakers managed to pick up an important win against the Denver Nuggets on Monday, the focus still remains on LeBron James‘ health, as he was held out of the game with soreness in the same ankle that caused him to miss 20 games. Although there were reports that he suffered a setback with that ankle, Vogel said because it was the second night of a back-to-back the Lakers decided to rest their star forward. Moving forward James is listed as day-to-day.

In his second game back from an extended absence, James was forced to exit against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night and was held out for the final six minutes after experiencing soreness in the ankle. In both games that LeBron has been back, the Lakers dropped both contests, and with seven games left on the schedule every loss becomes more crucial for playoff positioning. L.A. currently holds a half-game lead over the Dallas Mavericks for the fifth spot in the West, and are one game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers who sit seventh. 

With LeBron’s status unknown going forward, it puts more pressure on a Lakers team that is trying to avoid the play-in tournament, which includes teams ranked seventh through 10th to finalize the last two playoff spots in each conference. If LeBron isn’t 100 percent for the upcoming games, which includes tough matchups against the Clippers, Trail Blazers, Suns and Knicks, it will put L.A. at risk of having to play at least one more game to make the postseason.

James has already expressed his distaste for the tournament after Sunday night’s loss, stating that whoever came up with the idea should be fired. “That’s wack,” James said of the play-in tournament. “You’ve got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny.” James may not like the play-in tournament, but having to play in it is a real possibility for the Lakers now. 

On top of the possibility of not having LeBron for a couple games going forward, the Lakers will for sure be without point guard Dennis Schroder, who’s reportedly out 10-14 days due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Schroder kept the Lakers afloat during James’ and Anthony Davis‘ absence, and with him out until potentially the postseason, it will mean that the Lakers will need more from other role players on the team. 

How the Lakers fare over their upcoming stretch of games will go a long way toward determining where they finish in the postseason picture. Thus, they’re obviously hoping that James won’t have to miss any other games.

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