Load management appeared to start early for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who spent the final eight minutes of his team’s opening night loss to the Clippers on the bench, despite being within striking distance late.
James revealed that the reason he didn’t reenter the game was because of a rolled left ankle, although he doesn’t see it as a serious concern going forward.
“I turned it pretty good, but I don’t think it’s going to stop me from playing on Friday,” James said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “So, have a couple days, you know how I am about treatment, so I’ll do that around the clock and I think I should be fine by then.”
James knows how to take care of himself so he can stay at the peak of his powers, spending millions on his body every year. But he revealed that he has a unique plan to get through this injury.
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“I’ll go home and have dinner right now,” James said. “I’ll ice it, and I’ll drink some wine that will flow right to the ankle. … I can make sure I can drink on the left side of my body so it just goes right down to my left leg, right down to my ankle. But I’ll be around the clock. I’ll wake up [Wednesday] morning before I leave the house, and also I’ll get some more treatment at the facility and just continue to do that.
“Like I said, we have a couple days, so I’ll be fine.”
Frank Vogel Will Be Careful With LeBron James
With a shortened offseason, there has been a lot of talk about how James will be used this season — his 18th as a pro. Lakers coach Frank Vogel spoke on how he will utilize the four-time MVP prior to Tuesday night’s opener.
“We want to just back down his minutes as much as possible,” Vogel said. “The risk of peeling back his minutes too much is, talking to our medical team, you want to just keep him in rhythm as much as possible. If he’s out there for long stretches, that’s when it becomes riskier, or if he’s on the bench for too long of a stretch and has to come back in cold, that’s one of the risky situations. So we have a rotation built in for him where he plays more short bursts, gets shorter rest, and it stays with him because it what his body’s used to.”
Vogel doubled-down on that in his postgame press conference when asked about James and Anthony Davis.
“We’re gonna be conservative with their minutes early on in the season,” Vogel told reporters. “We have the depth to do it.”
Lakers Expect Dennis Schroder to Carry ‘Heavy Load’
Speaking of depth, the Lakers played 12 players in the loss to the Clippers, with 11 players logging double-digit minutes. Newcomer and defending Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell led the Lakers in minutes despite coming off the bench with 32.
Harrell had a nice night, with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting with 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Guard Dennis Schroder, who got his wish to start for the Lakers, approached triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. A bonus was that he only registered 1 turnover.
“Dennis is definitely one of those guys I think is going to carry a heavy load early,” Vogel told reporters after the game.