LeBron James‘ return to the Lakers‘ lineup was supposed to result in triumph, and perhaps it ultimately will. But Los Angeles is 0-2 since he came back from a lengthy absence because of a high-ankle sprain. To make matters worse, James may not even be 100 percent, yet.
The Lakers expect James to sit out tonight when they take on the Denver Nuggets, according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA superstar is dealing with a sore ankle and will use tonight as rest.
“Lakers star LeBron James is expected to sit out vs. Denver tonight to rest his right ankle, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski tweeted on Monday afternoon. “James re-aggravated the ankle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Toronto. Lakers have lost 6 of 7 games.”
The Lakers are in serious jeopardy of having to compete in this year’s play-in tournament. The more pressing issue, though, is James’ health and availability moving forward. Without him at 100 percent, the Lakers will struggle to get through the juggernaut that is the Western Conference.
Reporting with @RamonaShelburne: Lakers star LeBron James is expected to sit out vs. Denver tonight to rest his right ankle, sources tell ESPN. James re-aggravated the ankle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Toronto. Lakers have lost 6 of 7 games.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2021
Los Angeles has lost six of its last seven games, falling to 36-28 on the season and seventh place in the Western Conference standings. The road ahead proves difficult, as well.
The Lakers take on the Nuggets tonight, Clippers this Thursday, Trail Blazers this Friday, Suns on Sunday and then the New York Knicks next Tuesday. Their schedule lightens up a bit to end the regular-season with contests against Houston, Indiana and New Orleans.
While the play-in tournament is a path the Lakers would like to avoid, James’ health is a much more pressing issue. If he isn’t at his best, Los Angeles will probably crumble against top powers like the Suns, Jazz and Clippers.
The Lakers will gladly take the play-in tournament if it means James rests up down the stretch of the regular-season before returning at better health for the postseason.