LeBron James’ foot injury may be more of a problem than the Los Angeles Lakers are leading everyone to believe, per a new report from Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.
James has been dealing with a nagging foot injury for most of the season, although he’s missed minimal time due to the issue. James sat out the Lakers’ February 11 matchup against the Golden State Warriors — his seventh missed game of the season due to the sore foot — but the team gave a positive update on his foot prior to the matchup.
“LeBron did have some imaging on his foot injury, and we’re grateful that things came back clean and good,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said.
But Haynes’ reporting tells a different story, indicating that the scan on James’ sore foot was done because the four-time MVP has reached a “dire” point.
“I was told LeBron was severely struggling with that foot injury he has [Tuesday night vs. the Thunder],” Haynes said on his podcast “#ThisLeague Uncut” with fellow NBA veteran reporter Marc Stein. It gets to points where it just gets unbearable and he plays through it… The way it’s explained to me is that might be something that lingers all season long, but it reached the dire point.”
Lakers Won’t Shut Down LeBron James
The Lakers have just a pair of games left before the All-Star break and there’s been some talk about LA holding out their superstar forward until then.
However, head coach Darvin Ham does not believe that’s something James would want to do, considering where the Lakers sit in the standings.
“No, I don’t think he’d allow us to do that,” Ham said on Saturday after beating the Warriors.
James — fresh off breaking the all-time NBA scoring record — is a captain for the All-Star game, so there’s no doubt he’ll at least make an appearance in the exhibition contest in Utah. However, it’s conceivable that the 38-year-old won’t be playing much as he continues to manage the pain in his foot. He’ll be the lone representative for the Lakers.
Lakers Bolstered Roster for Run at Postseason Berth
The Lakers were active at the deadline, reshaping the roster for a run at a postseason berth. As of February 12, the Lakers are 26-31 and in 13th place in the Western Conference. They’re two games out of a play-in spot and three out of the No. 8 seed.
“I think a deep dive into this, you can almost look at it as ‘pre-agency,'” Pelinka told reporters.. “We very intentionally planned these moves to provide optionality in July. … It really is an exciting time, I think, for Laker Nation.”
With Russell Westbrook now gone, the Lakers will turn to Russell to be their third option behind James and Anthony Davis. He had a solid debut against the Warriors, notching 15 points in 35 minutes, adding six assists and five rebounds. The Lakers view the 26-year-old guard as a long-term piece.
“I think D’Angelo has shown a lot of growth since we had him here,” Pelinka said. “We do see him not just as a player that’s a short-term rental. So, we think that he’s a player that can really fit nicely, again, with our core pieces of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, just bringing spacing and shooting and playmaking and efficiency.”