Lakers Get Positive Injury Update on LeBron James

Lebron James Lakers

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers missed their superstar LeBron James on Sunday night in a 128-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Luckily, The King’s absence isn’t expected to be an extended one.

James is listed as questionable for the Lakers’ high-profile Christmas Day matchup with the Clippers. But a source close to James told ESPN that the four-time MVP is expected to play.

Dave McMenamin REPORTS LeBron James will return to play against Kawhi, Clippers on ChristmasDave McMenamin REPORTS LeBron James will return to play against Kawhi, Clippers on Christmas2019-12-23T13:11:28.000Z

James is dealing with a thoracic muscle strain and a nagging groin injury. He’s missed just one game this season. Anthony Davis is also questionable after playing 32 minutes and scoring 32 points against the Nuggets.

Lakers Not Hyping Up Christmas Day Contest

While the Christmas Day contest pits two of the best Western Conference teams against each other, the Lakers have expressed that they’re not putting too much weight into the result — win or lose.

“It’s two fierce teams, for sure. It’s two competitive teams. Two competitive coaching staffs. So, you can expect a lot of competition. And may the best team that night win. You don’t know how the ball is going to go in, you don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of who is going to play well and things of that nature, but both teams want to win,” James told reporters earlier this month. “But it’s not the end of a season. It doesn’t mark what the team is going to be for the remainder of the season on a Christmas Day game.”

Veteran Lakers big man Dwight Howard expressed a similar sentiment.

“The championship is won in June — it’s not won on Christmas,” Dwight Howard said Sunday. “This is not an ego test for us. We’re not trying to see who’s better right now. We want to make sure come playoff time that we’re the best team going into the playoffs and at the end of the playoffs that we’re the best team in the world. That’s the goal. That should be our mindset.

“We can’t allow emotions to get in the way of what we’re trying to accomplish. I think we were super emotional in the first game, and it showed. So we can’t play with our emotions. We’ve got to play with our will and our purpose. And if we do that, we should win the game.”

Kyle Kuzma: No ‘Next Man Up’ When it Comes to LeBron

HIGHLIGHTS | Anthony Davis (32 pts, 11 reb, 4 blk) vs. Denver NuggetsHIGHLIGHTS | Anthony Davis (32 pts, 11 reb, 4 blk) vs. Denver Nuggets. Subscribe for the latest Lakers' content: Follow us on Facebook: Follow us on Instagram: Follow us on Twitter: Get the Lakers app:… Check out the Lakers full 2019-20 regular-season schedule:

The Lakers have dealt with various injuries early this season, but it’s obvious James going down is not something that’s easy to replace.

After the game Kyle Kuzma shared some thoughts on how LeBron’s absence affects the game beyond just stats.

“It’s kind of hard to next-man-up LeBron,” Kuzma said. “He does so much. Shots come easier when he’s on the floor because everyone just looks at him.”

Davis — who saw a higher usage with James out — agreed.

“It’s tough when he’s out but we still got to find ways to win,” Davis said. “We lost our energy defensively. We got to continue to defend and once we get that edge back we’ll be fine.”

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