The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be awfully shorthanded for their matchup with the Phoenix Suns on Monday night at the Footprint Center. The Lakers announced that LeBron James (ankle soreness) and Austin Reaves (ankle sprain) will miss the second leg of the back-to-back.
The Lakers decision to rest LeBron can be viewed as precautionary. While James has been listed on the injury report with ankle soreness for weeks, he’s only missed one game due to the ailment: The Lakers’ Dec. 7 loss to the Toronto Raptors — also the second leg of a back-to-back.
LeBron’s performance hasn’t been slowed by the injury. He’s averaged 28.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists over the past 12 games. In Sunday’s win over the Washington Wizards, LeBron put up 33/7/9 in 36 minutes (including a dunk and assist in the final 30 seconds to secure the victory). The soon-t0-be-38-year old has averaged 39.2 minutes over his past five outings.
LEBRON JAMES TAKES OFF FOR THE CLUTCH DUNK 🔨pic.twitter.com/lnHYQxxvNq
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 19, 2022
LeBron finished his postgame press conference Sunday night by waxing on how he’s taken care of his body since he was 10 years old in an effort to “beat” Father Time.
Reaves’ status carries slightly more cause for concern. The sophomore guard limped to the tunnel in the second half of Sunday’s game after rolling his ankle. He briefly returned to action, only for Darvin Ham to send him back to the locker room to consult further with the medical staff, as he appeared to be in serious pain. Reaves and the medical staff eventually assured Ham that he could finish out the contest, and he ended up hitting a few key floaters down the stretch.
“If it ain’t broke, go play,” Reaves said about his twisted ankle. “That’s what my mom and dad used to tell me. I’ve always tried to play through nicks and bruises.”
Anthony Davis, of course, is dealing with a foot injury that is expected to sideline him for at least a month. The Lakers have not yet provided specific details on the nature of AD’s issue.
Juan Toscano-Anderson remains out with an ankle sprain.
On a positive note, Wenyen Gabriel, who’s missed the past seven games with a shoulder sprain, is finally off the injury report. The Lakers could certainly use his services in AD’s absence.
Patrick Beverley, who sat out Sunday due to calf soreness, is questionable for the clash with his nemesis, Chris Paul.
The Lakers next play on Wednesday at the Sacramento Kings.