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LeBron James will play Monday vs. Trail Blazers [UPDATE]

The Lakers will not sit LeBron on the second half of a back-to-back.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers throws a long pass against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half at Staples Center on December 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.  Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

UPDATE: Dec. 28, 8:18 p.m. — James will play in Monday’s game vs. the Trail Blazers despite being questionable due to an ankle injury. AD is also back and Caruso will sit, now due to health protocols. I don’t know if that’s anything to worry about as of now. We’ll keep you updated.

Like I mentioned below, LeBron has only played over 30 minutes once in three games this season and is playing his fourth game of the season and third in four nights. I would temper expectations for how much James will play tonight. It could be limited. Vogel has already said LeBron will play in shorter spurts this season. AD seems fine to roll out in all formats. With Caruso out, we could see more THT off the bench.

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James is questionable to play in Monday’s game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers due to an ankle injury, coach Frank Vogel told reporters late Sunday night. LeBron played in the Lakers’ blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring 18 points with 9 boards and 5 assists in 26 minutes. It’s very clear the Lakers are not going to unleash James until the postseason or until he is 100 percent healthy. Alex Caruso is also questionable to play.

The Lakers were without Anthony Davis on Sunday night. The All-Star big is dealing with a calf strain and was held out on the first half of the back-to-back. It’s not clear whether AD will be able to return for Monday’s game vs. the Blazers. The Lakers are 2-1 to start the season but the road to the playoffs won’t be easy, especially if both James and Davis are going to banged up the entire time.

With the injured stars, this could mean the Lakers lean more heavily on the free agent acquisitions in Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell, as well as Kyle Kuzma. It’s tough to trust James and Davis in DFS or fantasy basketball right now. Davis is the safer play when he’s able to go. LeBron hasn’t played more than 31 minutes in any of the first three games. If both LeBron and AD are out on Monday, this will open up a ton of value on L.A.

Harrell will still be a decent GPP play at $7,500 on DraftKings tonight. Schroder is also a great all-around play at $6,100 if LeBron is sidelined. Even if James plays, he isn’t going to play more than say 24-28 minutes realistically. If that’s the case, Harrell, Schroder and Kuzma ($6,100) will all make for good tournament options.

An interesting play if James and Caruso are out, Talen Horton-Tucker ($3,100) was a preseason darling and could get run similar to Sunday. He scored 13 points with a pair of steals and 3 assists against the T-Wolves. THT will likely be a very popular value play on the five-game main slate Monday night. He played 21 minutes because of the blowout on Sunday, but no James or Caruso would open up minutes regardless of the outcome against Portland.