LeBron James did not look like himself during the Los Angeles Lakers‘ first-round series against the Phoenix Suns and there was a reason for that.
James returned a bit preemptively from a high-ankle sprain to make it back in time for the postseason. However, he was not at full strength which became evident as his perfect record in the first round came to an end.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports spoke with James about the injury, revealing some interesting insight.
The four-time champ was 85% healthy for the series, but that percentage fluctuated game-to-game, sources said.
The high-ankle sprain was the main reason he wasn’t able to routinely penetrate and attack the paint like he’s accustomed to doing.
“I’m not worried about anything,” James told Yahoo Sports. “I just need rest. I was told that from the beginning. I gave what I had.”
Despite the injury, James averaged 23.3 points, 8.0 assists and 7.2 rebounds in the series, which is nothing to scoff at. However, as Haynes pointed out, James had a hard time getting to the rim, which has allowed him to take over games — and series — in the past.
LeBron James Ready for Some Rest, Recovery
James will be 37 years old next season and sounds like he’ll have his feet up — at least for a little — this offseason, skipping the Olympics.
“Nah, I think I’m gonna play for the Tune Squad this summer instead of the Olympics,” James said, a quick promo for his movie Space Jam: A New Legacy.
After missing a career-high 26 games, James is ready for rest and recovery, looking to get right for a run at a title next season.
“It’s going to work wonders for me, obviously,” James said getting some rest. “During the season I don’t even talk about rest, I don’t even like to put my mind and frame into that, it makes me weak. But in the offseason, I get an opportunity to rest. We’ve got like three months to recalibrate, get my ankle back to 100% where it was before that Atlanta game, and that’s the most important thing for me.”
Anthony Davis Doesn’t Regret Playing Through Injury
James’ co-star Anthony Davis was significantly less than 85%, suffering both a knee and groin strain against the Suns. The Lakers trotted Davis out for Game 6, but it quickly became apparent he shouldn’t be on the court.
“I couldn’t move to my right,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “That’s why I reacted that way [in the first quarter] when [Devin] Booker drove left and I had to slide to my right. That s–t hurt. There was nothing I could do, but I just wanted to be out there for my team so bad.
“Me going out there didn’t have anything to do with me trying to be tough; I felt I owed it to my team to try to be out there with them. I knew the only way I was going to be healthy enough to play was to get some rest, but time wasn’t on my side. So, I tried to give it a go. I don’t regret anything. I’ll be fine. Our team will be fine. I like our chances when healthy.”
Davis averaged 17.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in the series.