LeBron James did not practice with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday and is expected to miss additional time going forward with swelling in his knee.
James is expected to miss Wednesday’s game against Portland and could be out a few more games due to irritation in his left knee, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. James has missed the Lakers’ past three games due to swelling in the knee.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel spoke on James’ status on Tuesday at Lakers’ practice.
“Still working on getting that swelling down. He’s doubtful for tomorrow. He’s not here today with treatment outside of our facility,” he said. “The No. 1 goal is that he’s healthy for the long-haul. Everything else is less important after that. We have to win games when he’s out — that’s what it comes down to. We have enough and have been close in our last couple. We have to get over the hump and put together some wins before he returns.”
Vogel Considering LeBron James’ Workload
James has looked superhuman over his nearly two decades in the NBA but Father Time is undefeated. James is averaging 29.1 points per game and a whopping 36.6 minutes per contest — the most since his last year in Cleveland in 2017. A large load has been placed on James, especially during the month-plus that Anthony Davis was out.
“I think about it every day. We’re always mindful of the load that he’s carrying, in constant communication with him and the medical team,” Vogel said. “And in terms of what we do going forward with the knee and where he’s at, it’s really a heavy lean on the medical staff and (trainer) Mike Mancias and what they feel is best. It’s really not a head-coach thing as much as it is relying on the medical team.”
James has said he doesn’t care about how many minutes he plays and he’s grown accustomed to a heavy workload over the years.
“I don’t get caught up in usage rates and heavy loads and things of that nature,” he told reporters in January. “That’s been me my whole career, since I was an 18-year-old kid taking over a franchise. So, that type of pressure or that type of load is something I’m accustomed to, I’ve been accustomed to for 20 years.”
Lakers Head Home in Search of Wins
After being on the road for six games, the Lakers finally returned home this week after going 2-4 away from Crypto.com Arena. The Lakers were competitive in all those losses — even without James and Anthony Davis in Charlotte — and are hoping to turn things around.
“As a group, we can bring some of that energy back home and use it to our advantage and find ways to be able to use it for 48 minutes,” Russell Westbrook said. “I thought tonight we did that a good amount of the game but didn’t close the game the way we wanted to.”
The Lakers also have some decisions to make within the next 10 days with the trade deadline approaching. The team doesn’t have a ton of flexibility — or assets — to cause a huge shakeup but it’s clear at 24-27 something has got to give for the Lakers.