LeBron James to sit out Friday night’s game for ‘load management’
The Los Angeles Lakers have virtually no chance of making the playoffs with just 14 games remaining in the regular season to make up ground in the Western Conference, and they appear to be unofficially waving the white flag.
On Friday, the Lakers announced that LeBron James will sit out against the Detroit Pistons due to the groin injury he has been battling this year as well as “load management.”
Injury Update from Detroit:
– LeBron James (load management, groin) is out.
– Josh Hart (right knee tendinitis) is questionable.
– Reggie Bullock (left foot contusion) and Lance Stephenson (left foot, second toe sprain) are probable.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 15, 2019
James played 32 minutes in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night, and the Lakers have obviously decided they want to limit his minutes going forward. While LeBron has always said he would rather not sit out when he’s healthy, he previously did not rule out playing less down the stretch with the Lakers clearly no longer in playoff contention.
LeBron is now 34, and missing several games due to a groin injury this season was uncharted territory for him. Some believe he is finally starting to wear down with all the minutes he has logged and playoff games he has played in throughout his career, and that’s one of the reasons some teams would reportedly be hesitant to trade for him if the Lakers shopped him around.
If the Lakers are invested in LeBron long-term, it makes sense to preserve his health and give their younger players more minutes over the final 14 games.