Medical experts get real on Lakers star LeBron James’ ankle injury recovery
LeBron James has been out for 10 games straight now, and in his absence, the Los Angeles Lakers have been struggling. They’ve gone 4-6 without him and Anthony Davis on the court, forcing the Lakers to drop in the Western Conference.
Some have questioned whether Father Time is finally catching up to James at 36 years old. This injury could be the start of a downward spiral in LeBron’s career. However, according to a number of medical experts interviewed by Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports, there shouldn’t be a reason for concern as of yet for LeBron and the Lakers.
Here’s a sampling of opinions on the Lakers star’s injury and recovery:
“I expect when he completely heals, he should be just like who he was before he got hurt,” said Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist and author of ‘That’s Gotta Hurt: The injuries that changed sports forever.’ “So short term, bad news. Long term, good news.”
“Once you rehab these injuries, there’s typically very little disability,” said Dr. Michael Castro, an orthopedic surgeon and foot/ankle specialist with Summit Orthopedics. “For the garden variety without any overlying instability, high ankle sprains can heal and not really result in any prolonged disability. The best you can do is give it adequate time to heal and for it to become stable.”
“In the long run, players can usually come back and can eventually get back to their previous level of activity,” said Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, a foot and ankle surgeon with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute. “It’s not like an Achilles rupture where we would worry they may not be the same player. So with a high ankle sprain, I’m strongly optimistic he can get back and be highly skilled and talented to his previous level.”
It should be pointed out that these doctors don’t have access to LeBron’s medical records, this should still come as a sigh of relief to Lakers fans. Missing this time has cost the Lakers in the standings, but home-court advantage doesn’t matter as much this season and isn’t as important as health for this team. LeBron James’ stats were very impressive before his injury, so there’s clearly plenty left in the tank as long as he’s ready.
LeBron (and Anthony Davis for that matter) are due back some time in the near future. The Lakers should be fine, but they’ll have a tough road to the Finals this year. Catch their next game against the Brooklyn Nets in a potential Finals preview on Saturday night.