When the Brooklyn Nets take on the Los Angeles Lakers to close out the month of January, Nets’ superstar Kyrie Irving won’t get to match up against his old Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James. LeBron and his Lakers co-star, Anthony Davis, will be on the sideline when the two squads square off in Brooklyn on January 29, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both ruled out of Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Sunday. On the front end of back-to-back games in New York, James will be held out with left ankle soreness,” McMenamin writes.
“Davis is resting with a right foot stress injury after playing in the Lakers’ past two games. He missed the previous 20 games because of the injury.”
The Lakers will not be the only team with key players on the inactive list in the matchup. Per the latest Nets injury report, Brooklyn could also have key inactive players.
All-Star forward Ben Simmons is listed as questionable with left knee soreness, while reserve forward TJ Warren is listed as doubtful with a left shin contusion. This is in addition to superstar Kevin Durant who remains out with a right MCL sprain he suffered against the Miami Heat on January 8.
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Richard Jefferson Sounds off on Load Management
After tallying all the players missing from the Nets and Lakers clash, four All-stars will not take the floor. It brings into question the issue of load management in today’s NBA.
Not to say that any of the injuries are being bloviated, but the fact remains that there is an uptick of superstars missing away games in cities that they will likely only play in once every season. It can be disappointing to fans who purchase tickets specifically to watch their favorite players, who often are not even on the bench with the team when they are on the injured list.
Ex-Nets forward Richard Jefferson gave more insight into what impact load management can have on ticket buyers.
“For Christmas, my parents got me a ticket to go watch the San Antonio Spurs because David Robinson was my favorite player, One ticket. My dad, who worked security and scrubbed floors and did all this stuff, he dropped me off at the game. He gave me $5, and I went in there by myself because my family couldn’t afford to come to the game,” Jefferson said on the January 26 airing of “NBA Today”.
“Every day that I stepped on the floor, I remembered my father. I remember having one ticket and being there … If David Robinson wouldn’t have played in that game, I get emotional thinking about that.”
Jefferson also noted that when it comes to load management, the organizations are more responsible than the players.
“I blame the teams. I blame the training staff,” he added. “The players in this generation are doing more of what they’re told than going out there and leaving it on the floor.”
Nets Can Prove Themselves in Upcoming Stretch
The Nets now have a record of 3-6 since Durant went down with his injury on January 8. At the time of his injury, they were threatening to take over the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. But without their best player, Brooklyn has fallen to fourth place in the East and is just trying to stay afloat until Durant’s return.
The Nets have a chance to legitimize themselves in this upcoming stretch.
They will take on the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers within the next seven games. They are all worthy opponents who expect to make some noise in the postseason.
If Brooklyn can string together a few wins over those teams without Durant, it could give them a big boost of confidence heading into the All-Star break.