The Los Angeles Lakers have received an update on LeBron James‘ potentially season-ending injury.
It’s not guaranteed that James, who injured a tendon in his right foot on February 26 against the Dallas Mavericks, will play again this season, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report said on the March 20 episode of his podcast with Marc Stein.
“I think, obviously, the goal is for LeBron to return at some point before the season concludes, but what I’m hearing is that still might be a push right there, him returning at some point,” Haynes said. “I reported a few weeks ago that … the Lakers had to try and do whatever they could to try to win as many games as possible to give LeBron James as much time to recover as possible. So that means that even when he does come back, he might not be fully healthy, but [they are] just trying to buy him some time.”
James ditched his walking boot on March 13 and rejoined the team for the final four weeks of the season. The Lakers have 10 games left in the regular season, with the finale taking place on April 9 against the Utah Jazz.
“With that being said, I don’t know how realistic it is that he returns with some games left in the regular season. That is definitely the goal. LeBron James is shooting for that, I just don’t know how realistic it is right now,” Haynes said. “Can LeBron come back the final two games of the regular season? … I think definitely that’s a possibility, but I think it’s still premature as of right now. The way it was explained to me is that might be a push right there.”
A four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP, James is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists on the season while shooting 50.1% from the field, 30.8% from beyond the arc and 75.9% from the free-throw line. The Lakers are in 10th place in the Western Conference standings. Their next game is on March 22 versus the Phoenix Suns.
LeBron James May Not Be Able to Play Through This Injury
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on March 17 that James wasn’t close to returning from his right foot tendon injury. LeBron, who has played through several injuries during his legendary career, may not be able to play through this right foot ailment.
“LeBron is not close to returning from what I am told,” Windhorst said on his podcast. “I know that everybody said the three weeks, but I think it was very clear three weeks is when he’s going to get an official re-evaluation. It didn’t mean he’s coming back in three weeks. I know that LeBron has played through injuries in the past. I’m not 100 percent sure this is an injury you can play through.”
The Lakers are 24-23 this season when James plays. They improved to 35-37 overall after winning against the Orlando Magic on March 19.
Darvin Ham Expects LeBron James to Play Again
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham issued a strong statement on James’ injury progress before the team defeated the Magic. Ham said the Lakers expect James to play again this season.
“We anticipate him coming back at some point,” Ham said. “I think Bron, him being out has revealed that we have a lot of different weapons that are very capable players on both sides of the ball that can help us achieve the goal that we’re trying to achieve. And when he comes back, he’s just going to add to it.”