LeBron’s current absence for his latest right ankle issue: one game – and counting.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Lakers star LeBron James is expected to miss back-to back games on Thursday (Clippers) and Friday (Blazers) to rest his right ankle, sources tell ESPN. James will proceed cautiously with ankle injury as playoffs approach.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 4, 2021
If missing these games gets LeBron healthy for the playoffs, the Lakers should obviously sit him. But this multi-game absence instills more – not less – doubt LeBron will be peaking as the playoffs begin.
It also puts the Lakers in greater jeopardy of worse postseason position.
The Lakers (37-28) are fifth in the Western Conference – half a game up on the sixth-place Mavericks and one game up on the seventh-place Trail Blazers. Los Angeles must finish top six to avoid the dreaded play-in tournament.
After L.A. and Portland, the Lakers’ remaining schedule:
- Sunday, May 9: vs. Suns
- Tuesday, May 11: v. Knicks
- Wednesday, May 12: vs. Rockets
- Saturday, May 15: at Pacers
- Sunday, May 16: at Pelicans
The Lakers beat the Nuggets without LeBron yesterday. Los Angeles can still grind out games defensively. But it’ll be tough to establish an offensive rhythm without LeBron and starting point guard Dennis Schroder (coronavirus protocols).
For such a prolific scorer, Anthony Davis is often set up by others. His passing is the latest improvement to complete his all-around game, not a longstanding strength. Plus, it’s reasonable to expect Davis to be uneven as he returns from his own injury.
The Lakers need two healthy stars to compete for another championship. The clock is ticking on LeBron. Hopefully, sitting for a few games gets him on track.