Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirmed Lebron James will miss Thursday’s game against the Clippers.
Isabel Gonzalez @cisabelg
It’s been a “long, super quick” season for the Los Angeles Lakers, as described by LeBron James.
The Lakers star spent six week out due to a high right ankle sprain that occurred on March 20 against the Hawks. Missing 20 games became James’ longest absence of his career, and unfortunately for the Lakers, that count didn’t stop there.
He returned to the court last Friday against the Kings and admitted it had been stressful to not be able to help his team, which currently holds a 37-28 record. He talked about the number of hours he spent doing rehab because of the determination he had to get back.
“It was a lot more than I slept. Over the last six weeks that’s all I’ve been doing, having the urgency to get back and play,” James said. “I knew getting back to 100% was impossible. I don’t think I’ll ever get back to 100% in my career, but I felt comfortable that I could get out on the floor and help my team win.”
Through the two games after his return, James said he started out fine but could feel his ankle getting tight and sore after halftime. He said there hasn’t been much practice time this season, so during his rehab he didn’t experience five-on-five or contact. Instead, he had to focus on individual workouts and a lot of running to keep his conditioning going.
His pain caused him to check out before Sunday’s game against the Raptors was over. James then sat out Monday’s game against the Nuggets for the same reason. The Lakers picked up a much needed win without him, but on Wednesday head coach Frank Vogel announced that he will continue sidelined for at least one more game. James will miss Thursday’s game against the Clippers and then be day-to-day after that.
The Lakers will also be missing starting point guard Dennis Schroder. On Monday, Vogel confirmed that he will be out 10-14 days due to health and safety COVID-19 protocols.
This is a continuation of what the Lakers have been dealing with for the last couple of months. Forward/center Anthony Davis was out of the lineup for 30 games due to a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis. He returned on April 23, but the time off was noticeable at first.
Vogel said Davis is slowly getting back to where he wants to be in rhythm, timing and conditioning. The coach liked the defensive effort he saw from him on Monday.
While Davis is improving, the Lakers are still missing some key pieces. Kyle Kuzma didn’t shy away from pointing out that his team felt disconnected because of all the inconsistency in the lineup. James agreed with him but also said that at the end of the day, whoever was on the floor had to figure out a way to get it done.
The veteran said the Lakers can hang their hats knowing they can perform well in the postseason because of the experience in the roster. However, the team is currently sixth in the Western Conference, which means dropping one spot would force them into the play-in tournament.
Vogel said the Lakers were not in an ideal situation right now, but also that the No. 1 goal is to get James’ ankle better, even if it’s not 100%.
“Wherever we end up in the standings, we want him as healthy as possible going into the playoffs,” Vogel said. “Other than that, we are just going to compete and win as many games as we can down the stretch here.”