Seeing LeBron James leave a game due to injury is jarring — he is the NBA’s most durable superstar. Maybe ever. He had played in 116 consecutive games and has never missed more than 13 games in a regular season. No player works harder to maintain his conditioning and prevent injuries than LeBron.
Yet there he was, limping to the locker room in the third quarter of a Christmas Day game against the Warriors with what was later officially called a strained groin. It was legitimately concerning that LeBron said he heard a “pop.”
LeBron had an MRI on Wednesday and the results were good news for Lakers fans, something broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic and confirmed by the Lakers and LeBron himself.
LeBron will miss a few games, although the Lakers will want to be cautious bringing him back (groin injuries can linger, feeling healed but not ready for explosive movements, which lead to worse injuries).
The Lakers are fortunate. They could not afford to lose LeBron for 10 games or more, their standing in the West playoffs would have been jeopardized (Stephen Curry missed 11 games this season with a more severe groin strain). LeBron leads the Lakers in points (27.3), rebounds (8.3), and assists (7.1) per game, he is their defensive and locker room leader, he is by far their best shot creator in the half court, and the team is +5.1 per 100 possessions better when he is on the court. Without him, they are not a playoff team.
Los Angeles currently sits at 20-14, the four seed in a crowded West. The Lakers play at the Kings Thursday and LeBron will not travel with the team. They then fly home to face the Clippers on Friday night at Staples Center, followed by hosting the Kings on Sunday.