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Report: Lakers star LeBron James set to miss Clippers, Blazers games with ankle injury

LeBron James, Lakers, Clippers, Blazers

LeBron James will miss the Los Angeles Lakers’ next two games — a Thursday-Friday road back-to-back vs. the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers — in order to rest his right ankle, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday.

Woj says the Lakers will “proceed cautiously” with their superstar as the playoffs fast approach, and he could miss more than two games.

James (high right ankle sprain) returned from a 20-game absence for last Friday’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings. After putting up 16 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in 32 minutes, James was thankful to come out of the game “unscathed,” considering his inability to properly gauge his ankle beforehand.

“I haven’t played in a game in six weeks, no contact, no 5-on-5. I’ve been doing a bunch of individual workouts and a lot of running, trying to keep my heart rate going, my conditioning going,” the Lakers star revealed. “For my first game in six weeks, I felt OK. As far as my wind, I felt pretty good. As far as my ankle, my ankle was a little tight at times, obviously just doing different movements, different things that I haven’t done in a game situation in six weeks. So, I think as the games go on that will continue to improve. But I came out unscathed and pretty good, so it’s a good start.”

James’ ankle failed to make it through his second game back, as he was forced to exit his team’s home loss to the Toronto Raptors with what he described as a “sharp pain” that he hadn’t felt in warmups. Afterward, he stopped short of saying that he suffered a setback, but again voiced his frustration with the lack of practice time built into the schedule, causing him to use actual games as a trial run.

“There ain’t no damn practice time,” he lamented. “It’s not the season for it. … I don’t want to say I came back too early, but I had to test it out and see where I was at.”
Evidently, he wasn’t in a good enough place.
James was forced to miss L.A.’s much-needed win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at Staples Center, and he will now sit out at least two more crucial contests. The Lakers are 9-12 without The King in 2020-21.
L.A. faces four consecutive meetings against playoff teams and three more back-to-backs over its final eight ballgames. Dennis Schröder is also expected to miss up to 14 days due to health and safety protocols.

Per Woj, LeBron has “experienced some trouble making hard cuts and exploding” since returning.

The Lakers (37-28) — losers of six of their last eight games — entered Tuesday as the No. 5 seed in the West, half a game up on the Dallas Mavericks and a game above the Blazers and the play-in tournament. Dallas owns the tiebreaker over L.A., while the Lakers’ upcoming game in Portland, sans LeBron, will determine the season series between those two teams.