The Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff hopes could be in serious jeopardy, as LeBron James is set to miss the next two weeks of play due to a foot injury. The 38-year-old could be out for longer, as his return to play is contingent upon the Lakers’ chances of entering the postseason.
The four-time NBA MVP suffered the injury during the third quarter of the Lakers’ Sunday (Feb. 26) matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. King James stayed in the game, notching 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists to help his squad overcome a 27-point deficit for their biggest comeback victory in 21 years.
Following the game, reports noted that the four-time NBA champion could miss an extended period of time due to the injury, though it was unclear what the issue was specifically. James had been dealing with nagging foot injuries throughout the season, so this was believed to be a re-aggravation. NBA Insider’s Shams Charania reported that he would likely miss two or three weeks.
This is a less-than-ideal time for the Lakers’ centerpiece to go down, as they currently sit at the 12th seed in the Western Conference with 20 games left to go. The play-in tournament is within reach, as they are just one game behind the 10th-seed New Orleans Pelicans, but the Lakers have struggled to win games without LBJ. They are 5-9 when LeBron isn’t on the court.
Fortunately, Anthony Davis is healthy after missing 24 total games this season, but even a 28-point and 19-rebound performance from the eight-time All-Star wasn’t enough to help the Lakers defeat the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night (Feb. 28).
The Lakers made major moves over the trade deadline, relieving themselves of Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Thomas Bryant, Kendrick Nunn, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Mo Bamba, Rui Hachimura, and Davon Reed. The hope is that the added playmaking, shooting, and defending can bolster their rotation to become a real threat for playoff contention and even a championship.
The moves have already paid dividends, as they are 4-2 since the trade deadline.