Analyst Alleges Lakers Star LeBron James is Faking Injury

Getty Images LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be without LeBron James potentially for the next month as he recovers from a high ankle sprain, but not everyone is convinced the 36-year-old superstar is injured — at least to the extent that’s being reported.

Analyst Ric Bucher put on his tinfoil hat during an appearance on FS1’s Speak for Yourself on Tuesday, sharing his opinion on the injury to James:

LeBron James goes down with a high-ankle sprain. They call timeout. He goes to the bench, then he goes back in the game. He hits a 3, they call another timeout so he can leave. I’ve never seen a guy with a high ankle sprain … why would he possibly come back again? Unless he’s not quite as hurt as we thought he was and he and AD are recreating what they had last year.

It may not be three months, but you know what, they could get a month off together and come rolling in with 11 games, like the pre-playoff bubble run. I’m not saying that’s what is going on, but it strikes me as a little weird that he came back into that game, and then I looked at the dynamics. Are they setting us up for something here?

Bucher is right on one front, as it is a bit inconceivable that James would stay in the game and hit a 3-pointer on one leg, although he’s proven before that his body can defy what is thought possible.

James did keep almost all his weight off the ankle when taking the shot and he might have had some incentive. With the 3-pointer, he notched 10 points in the game, extending his NBA-record streak of consecutive games scoring in double digits to 1,036.

Stephen A. Smith Worried About Anthony Davis

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While Bucher believes James is playing the injury up too much, noted ESPN talking head Stephen A. Smith is getting “suspicious” when it comes to Anthony Davis, who has missed 23 games with calf and Achilles issues.

“I’m about to get nosey is what I’m trying to say. Usually, I’m just sitting back … but I’m getting suspicious. It’s been a little bit too long with these injuries and I’m starting to feel that it’s worse than we’re being led to believe,” Smith said on First Take.

Davis is averaging 22.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks this season. He’s expected to be reevaluated this week.

“Lakers ain’t winning the West without both AD and LeBron. Ain’t happening. I ain’t worried about LeBron coming back,” Smith said. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m not accusing of faking the injury, I would never do that to any player, especially LeBron.”

Lakers Struggling Without LeBron James, Anthony Davis

The Lakers are struggling without James and Davis in the lineup. The defending champs dropped their third game in a row on Tuesday against the Pelicans in blowout fashion, 128-111.

“I think we just got to look at the drawing board, continue to trust each other, try to play for one another on both sides of the ball,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma told reporters after the game. “I think if we can do that, we give ourselves a chance every single night. … That’s the challenge we’re up against. Just got to strap it up and go.”

The Lakers have sunk to No. 4 in the Western Conference, four games back of the first-place Jazz. They’re nearly as close to the No. 8 spot, with Dallas sitting 4.5 games back of the Lakers. An extended losing streak with Davis and James out could prove devastating to the team’s championship aspirations in a highly competitive West.

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