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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Articles tagged: LeBron James

Here is why LeBron James is feeling ‘optimism’ with ankle injury

LeBron James

LeBron James has missed four straight games with an ankle injury that is expected to linger through the remainder of the season, but the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly feeling better about the situation following LeBron’s latest workouts.

Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday that James was a full participant at practice. The Lakers coach would not say what that means for LeBron’s availability for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that there is “more optimism” surrounding the injury after LeBron practiced on Sunday and Monday.

James missed roughly six weeks with a sprained ankle before returning, only to experience soreness and have to shut it down again. A recent report claimed the injury is not going to get a lot better and is something LeBron will simply have to play through.

While it is good news that LeBron practiced without pain, the injury will have to be managed down the stretch. It sounds like one that he has a high probability of aggravating at any time.

LeBron James targeting this game for second return from ankle injury

LeBron James

LeBron James is dealing with an ankle injury that may not be fully healed by the time the playoffs begin, but the Los Angeles Lakers star clearly intends to play through it.

LeBron is targeting Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks to return again from his injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. If he doesn’t play Tuesday, it is possible he will be back to face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. It seems unlikely that LeBron would play in back-to-back games regardless.

James missed roughly six weeks with a sprained ankle before returning, only to experience soreness and have to shut it down again. A recent report claimed the injury is not going to get a lot better and is something LeBron will simply have to play through. If he’s going to have to learn to manage the pain, you can understand why he would prefer to return sooner rather than later.

The Lakers still had a nice win over Phoenix on Sunday despite not having James. They beat the Suns 123-110, getting 42 points from Anthony Davis. Davis may have to carry the team while LeBron is hurting, which he seems ready to do.

LeBron James’ ankle injury not going to get a lot better?

LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers may have some serious issues this postseason.

LeBron James has missed four straight games due to a right ankle injury that previously caused him to miss 20 games. The playoffs are nearing (May 22), and James probably will not be 100 percent healthy by then.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that James’ injury is “not going to get a lot better.” He added that James will have to “play with discomfort” in the postseason.

“The concern for the Lakers right now, that right ankle of LeBron James that kept him out for six weeks, has put him out again,” Woj reported Saturday. “This is not going to get a lot better. He’s going to have to play with discomfort in the postseason. It’s not going to be until the summer. So there’s an even greater load on Anthony Davis here. But the question still remains of how effective LeBron James can be. When he was back those two games last week, he had difficulty exploding off that ankle and making hard cuts.”

The Lakers still had a nice win over Phoenix on Sunday despite not having James. They beat the Suns 123-110, getting 42 points from Anthony Davis. Davis is going to have to carry the team, which he seems ready to do.

Frank Vogel has interesting remark about LeBron James’ absence

Frank Vogel

LeBron James is once again sidelined with an ankle injury, and he has not been on the bench with the Los Angeles Lakers since he sat out the end of last Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors with lingering soreness. According to Lakers coach Frank Vogel, there is no medical reason for LeBron to be staying away from the team.

LeBron was not on the bench for the Lakers’ last two games against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers. He is not expected to travel with the team to face the Trail Blazers in Portland on Friday night, either. When asked why after Thursday’s blowout loss to the Clippers, Vogel had an interesting response.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that LeBron’s absences were considered excused to give him time to “stay off the ankle.” If that is the case, it’s unclear why Vogel didn’t say it.

LeBron is undoubtedly frustrated. He missed roughly six weeks with a sprained ankle before returning, only to experience soreness and have to shut it down again. He is likely doing everything he can to rest and rehab before the playoffs, which is why it was strange that Vogel didn’t just call the absence injury related.

We have already heard some bad news about LeBron’s health going forward, so the last thing the team needs is the media questioning whether the four-time MVP should be joining his teammates on the bench. Vogel’s remark created some awkwardness, at the very least.

LeBron James unlikely to be fully healthy for playoffs?

LeBron James

LeBron James cannot get fully healthy as he works his way back from an ankle injury, and it sounds like that might remain the case into the playoffs.

James returned last week after missing roughly six weeks with an ankle sprain. However, in just his second game back, he sat out the end of Sunday’s game against Toronto due to lingering soreness, and then missed the team’s win over Denver one night later.

It sounds like this will be a fact of life for James this season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on “Get Up!” Wednesday that James is unlikely to be fully healthy for the playoffs and will simply have to manage the pain.

While not a huge shock, this is definitely not welcome news for the Lakers. James is central to their hopes of a repeat title, and the team has really struggled lately, dropping to sixth in the Western Conference and getting uncomfortably close to play-in territory.

If the Lakers want to repeat, this guy is probably going to have to step it up the rest of the way.

Daryl Morey appears to fire back at LeBron James over play-in criticism

Daryl Morey

Now that LeBron James’ team is nearing the play-in zone, he is suddenly not a fan of the league having the tournament. Daryl Morey is one basketball figure who sees the irony there.

James’ Los Angeles Lakers had an embarrassing loss to the shorthanded Toronto Raptors at home on Sunday. The defeat put the defending champs just a tiebreaker over the Portland Trail Blazers away from falling to the No. 7 seed. After the game, the four-time MVP went scorched-earth on the NBA over the play-in.

“Whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired,” James said bluntly, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Not long after James made his comments, the Philadelphia 76ers GM Morey appeared to respond to the criticism on Twitter.

“I can’t believe the NBA hastily implemented a change that makes games more interesting and meaningful,” wrote Morey. He also included a GIF of The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” for emphasis.

At 43-21, Morey’s Sixers are well above play-in territory. But the tournament has been a divisive topic among other star players besides just James.

Morey and James do also have history with one another. The latter once openly lambasted the former for speaking out in support of Hong Kong. This may be Morey’s way of settling the score a bit.

LeBron James exits Lakers’ loss early due to sore right ankle

LeBron James

This is not what the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to see.

LeBron James exited the Lakers’ 121-114 loss at home against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night due to a sore right ankle.

James was replaced with 6:42 left in the game but never reentered. His team was down by 16 at the time, so it’s possible he didn’t want to keep pushing with such a difficult chance of coming back to win the game.

James was playing his second game for the Lakers since returning from an ankle injury that kept him out 20 games. The 20-game absence marked the longest of his career.

The Lakers are 36-28 after their loss to Toronto. They’re in a three-way tie with Dallas and Portland for the No. 6 spot. Making the top six versus spots 7-10 is the difference between a guaranteed spot in the playoffs and having to participate in the play-in event.

The defending champions may say they are not concerned, but they have lost three in a row and have just eight games left to get it together. Between James’ ankle and Anthony Davis’ calf, the Lakers have some health concerns.

LeBron James offers blunt assessment of health after return from ankle sprain

LeBron James

LeBron James returned Saturday night after the longest injury layoff of his career, and he looked fairly rust-free with that fact considered. However, what he said after the game probably won’t make a lot of Los Angeles Lakers fans feel particularly comforted.

James said he was “more stressful” than he’d ever been in his time away with a high ankle sprain, but he added that he does not really anticipate being in peak health ever again.

“I know getting back to 100% is impossible. I’ll never get back to 100% in my career,” James said, via Mark Medina of USA Today. “But I felt comfortable where I knew I could get on the floor and help my team win.”

It’s a frank, but correct assessment from James. He’s 36 years old, and while he can hopefully keep the extended absences to a minimum, he’s going to be battling things for the rest of his career. Some of them we may not even hear about. If he can effectively play through pain as he has in the past, the Lakers — or whichever team he is playing for — will be fine.

As it stands, the Lakers have some more immediate concerns as the playoffs approach.

LeBron James set to return from longest absence of his career

LeBron James

LeBron James has not played since he injured his ankle in a game on March 20, but the Los Angeles Lakers star could return on Friday night.

James is considered a game-time decision for the Lakers’ game against the Sacramento Kings, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. He had originally been listed as “out” for Friday, but he is now a game-time decision.

Even if LeBron does not play on Friday, Wojnarowski reports that he will likely return to face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

LeBron is averaging 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists this season. The Lakers are 8-13 without him and have tumbled down the Western Conference standings, so you can understand why James would be itching to return for the stretch run.

James is one of the most durable players in the NBA. His ankle injury absence marks the longest of his career.

Julius Erving takes swipe at LeBron James for starting superteam movement

LeBron James

The King is receiving a bit of criticism this week from The Doctor.

Retired NBA legend Julius Erving appeared this week on the “Posted Up” podcast with Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes. Erving named his top two all-time NBA teams, consisting of ten players in total. Surprisingly, Erving declined to list LeBron James at all.

“He’s the guy who led the charge in terms of superteams being put together when he put together a team in Miami,” said Erving of the four-time MVP James. “He put together a team in Cleveland as well and put together a team in Los Angeles. He can pick his own team. I ain’t gonna pick his team.”

Erving named Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Elgin Baylor to his first all-time team. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared on Erving’s second all-time team.

The 71-year-old Erving obviously went all old-school with his picks, also declining to list players like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and Stephen Curry. But the criticism of James as the pioneer of sorts of superteams is an interesting one.

The obvious counterpoint, which was raised by Haynes, is that it was very common for elite NBA teams to have three or four All-Stars well before James even arrived in the league. Erving was part of some of those teams too. In 1984 in particular, his Philadelphia 76ers had four future Hall of Famers in himself, Charles Barkley, Maurice Cheeks, and Moses Malone. They also had two other All-Stars in Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones.

In any case, Erving has made no secret of his disdain for the way that teams are loading the boat with talent these days. James is the latest player to get caught in his crosshairs.