UPDATE 8:08 p.m.: LeBron James has suffered a high ankle sprain, per Woj, and is out indefinitely. So the usually timeframe for a high ankle sprain is anywhere from 4-6 weeks. Knowing how important LeBron is to the Lakers, he probably won’t be back until at least late April or even early May. With Anthony Davis also sidelined, the Lakers can’t afford to rush either back and risk re-injury. If that happens, you can kiss back-to-back titles goodbye.
Speaking of kissing things goodbye, does this mean LeBron can’t win MVP? Most likely. We saw Embiid go down for a few weeks and he was dropped in the MVP odds to third behind LeBron and Jokic. With LeBron hurt, we can expect Jokic to jump up as the favorite win MVP.
Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James rolled his ankle in the second quarter vs. the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday and was forced to leave the game. James appeared to be OK and was trying to walk it off, but ultimately limped to the locker room. He was clearly in some pain and frustrated as he went back to the room. We’ll see if he just gets it taped up and comes back in. A chair was knocked over, though, so it’s got to be serious.
UPDATE: James’ X-Ray on his right ankle came back negative, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. LeBron is still awaiting the results of the MRI, but the negative X-Ray results are encouraging. Like I said before (not a doctor), but chances are this is a sprain of some sort. The MRI will reveal the severity. Now we play the waiting game again.
UPDATE: James is going for an MRI on his right ankle, per ESPN. So this will give us a good idea of the severity of the injury. I’m not a doctor, but it could just be a bad sprain. The worst case scenario is the ankle is fractured or LeBron tore ligaments in the ankle. Again, we’ll see.
UPDATE: LeBron has a right ankle injury and will not return to the game. This isn’t good news, initially. We don’t know if it’s serious still. Like I mentioned below, the Lakers play Sunday, so there’s a chance this isn’t serious and the team is playing it safe with AD also sidelined. I’d imagine if it isn’t something too bad that James could miss a few games out of caution. We’ll keep you updated as we get more info.
We never want to see anyone get hurt, especially the best player in the world. Below I outlined a bit about the MVP race. If James were to miss any extended time — even a week or two — this would open up things for Jokic to take the lead in the MVP race. James jumped Embiid when the Sixers All-Star got hurt. We could see a similar scenario if LeBron misses some games. Jokic is +200 on DraftKings Sportsbook, though the line will likely come down you’d think.
LeBron just exited the game and is going back to the locker room. On the way, he knocked a chair over. He's limping. Clearly in a lot of pain.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 20, 2021
James was off to a good start with 10 points and 4 assists in 11 minutes. The Lakers really can’t afford to lose LeBron to injury, so hopefully this isn’t anything serious. Anthony Davis (calf) is still out and his return timeline has been unclear the past month or so. If LeBron misses the rest of this game or any additional games, it could hurt the Lakers’ chances of bouncing back and making a run at the top seed in the West. They sort of gave up on that dream with AD’s health more important heading into the playoffs.
If LeBron doesn’t return Saturday, we should see plenty of Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell off the bench. Depending on the severity, those two could be asked to pick up more offensive slack moving forward. The Lakers are on the first leg of a back-to-back and have to travel to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Again, the Lakers could play it safe with LeBron, hold him out of the rest of this game and tomorrow, then bring him back Tuesday vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.
Again, we don’t know if this injury is anything right now. If it’s nothing and LeBron is fine, we can go back to our lives. If LeBron misses any games (God forbid extended time), those Nikola Jokic MVP tickets are going to be looking real good with Joel Embiid also sidelined.