LeBron James, in his 20th NBA season, is not likely to play both legs of too many back-to-backs. However, after missing two weeks — five games — with a left adductor strain, the Los Angeles Lakers star may make an exception.
Following the Lakers’ 105-94 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, LeBron — who produced a rusty 21 points (8-of-17 shooting), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 9 turnovers — said there’s a “strong possibility” he plays on Saturday when the Lakers (6-11) and Spurs (6-14) hoop again at the AT&T Center. It’ll be the third time this week that the Western Conference foes square off.
“I just sat out two weeks,” LeBron explained. “I’m good.”
The future Hall of Famer said he’s been training around the clock and knew he was ready to go when he felt “pretty good” this morning following a workout on Thursday.
LeBron says he felt "pretty good" after scoring 21 points in his return to the court after missing the previous five games. pic.twitter.com/O7Lws2FjaX
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 26, 2022
LeBron benefited from a scheduling quirk that allowed the Lakers to enjoy five days off without travel but missed multiple games before and after the hiatus.
Prior to his groin injury, LeBron sat out the second half of the Lakers’ first back-to-back of the 2022-23 season, citing foot soreness.
“It’s motivation to myself to continue to play at a high level,” LeBron said a few weeks back about his lingering foot soreness. “No matter the mileage or the years or the games or whatever the case may be, which I’ve been on the floor. So, I try to push the limit and even try to excel the limit when it comes to this game and much I can continue to contribute at a high level.”
The Lakers’ next B2B comes on Dec. 6-7, featuring road tests against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. One would assume LeBron, if healthy, will want to show out in Cleveland (as per usual). The Lakers have eight more back-to-backs this season.
Darvin Ham was pleased with LeBron’s effort on Friday, despite the turnovers.
“I thought he was phenomenal. He looked great. He was moving great. Obviously, there’s going to be some rust there … Really hadn’t had a chance to practice, to do much in that regard. But I thought he looked great. That’s Bron. He’ll correct his mistakes … But, I asked him after the game: ‘How did it feel?’ He said ‘Good. Really really good.’ So that’s a great sign.”