Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James will be out at least three weeks with a right foot injury, the team announced Thursday.
LeBron James has been evaluated by Lakers team physicians and medical staff, and it has been determined that he has sustained a right foot tendon injury. James will be reevaluated in approximately three weeks.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 2, 2023
The Lakers were without James — the NBA’s all-time leading scorer — for Tuesday’s game at Memphis with what they called right foot soreness. The Lakers lost that game, 121-109, as Grizzlies guard Ja Morant scored 28 of his 39 points in the third quarter. In addition to James, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell missed his second game with a right ankle sprain.
James played 37 minutes in the Lakers’ 111-108 win at Dallas on Sunday, helping Los Angeles rally from a 27-point deficit. But he left the arena with a pronounced limp, with video from The Dallas Morning News showing how much the foot was bothering him.
LeBron limps out of AAC — with a 27-point comeback win. pic.twitter.com/7jbcN5JgUG
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 27, 2023
He got hurt in the third quarter, grabbing at the ankle after spending some time on the floor in obvious pain. But he stayed in to finish the game, noting how important it was to the Lakers’ playoff hopes.
“It’s been better,” James said. “But I definitely wasn’t going to the locker room and not finish the game. The importance of this game and then the momentum that we had, I felt like we could steal one after being down.”
James leads the Lakers in scoring at 29.5 points per game, and said at the All-Star break earlier this month that the team’s closing stretch this season would be some of the most important games he has played — noting he didn’t want to miss the postseason for a second consecutive year.
The Lakers (30-33) are in 11th place in the Western Conference, a game from 10th and the final spot in the Play-In Tournament, and only 2 games behind Dallas in the race for seventh. The top six teams in each conference are guaranteed playoff berths.
The Lakers trail the No. 6-seeded LA Clippers by 2 1/2 games and play 10 of their next 12 games at home before closing the season with five of their last seven games on the road. With James — a 19-time All-Star, playing in his 20th NBA season — most likely out for most of that run, the task of getting in figures to become significantly tougher.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.