But he has a more direct concern right now – an ankle injury that sidelined him for 20 games (the longest absence of his career) and, after a two-game return, has him sitting another three games or more.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
"I think [LeBron] is going to try to play again in the regular season. … He probably can't get [the ankle] fully healthy until the offseason. He's going to have to play with discomfort in the playoffs."@wojespn with the latest on LeBron. pic.twitter.com/vjI9htOcGJ
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 5, 2021
LeBron famously played the last three games of the 2018 NBA Finals with what he described a broken hand (after punching a whiteboard following a Game 1 loss, but still). He has a high pain tolerance.
But succeeding in the playoffs is difficult when fully healthy. Even if he can play through the pain, a hobbled LeBron would be less effective.
At this point, LeBron and the Lakers must just figure out how to get him as healthy as possible for the playoffs. However, resting him more now risks a complication. If the Lakers fall into the dreaded play-in tournament, they’d have to play more games just to make the playoffs rather than getting a few-day-long break.
It’s just a difficult situation.