Lakers’ Concerning Silence on LeBron James’ Injury Should Strike Fear into LA’s Heart
The Los Angeles Lakers are off to an expected bumpy start to the 2021-22 campaign. However, the Lakers are dealing with injury issues regarding star forward LeBron James. Things have taken another concerning turn after the latest update concerning James’ health.
LeBron James sidelined with an abdominal injury
James spent much of the offseason getting his body healthy after experiencing an injury-plagued second half to his 18th campaign.
The 36-year-old has played only six games, averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds on 46.7% shooting from the floor and 34.7% from 3-point range. However, James missed two straight games due to a right leg injury scare against the Memphis Grizzlies.
After the win against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 2, he remains sidelined with an abdominal strain, sitting out the last three contests. The Lakers laid out an initial one-week timetable, but the latest update isn’t promising at all.
Lakers’ concerning silence on LeBron James’ injury should strike fear into LA’s heart
It’s been several days since the Lakers declared the four-time league MVP sidelined for a week to deal with his abdominal injury.
However, the lack of clarity concerning the extent of the ailment has driven the conversation toward a lengthy absence. Head coach Frank Vogel didn’t create much optimism on Monday, voicing that he had no update or timetable for the 36-year-old’s return.
Vogel’s remarks lend to the growing notion that James is working his way back from an injury that requires multiple weeks to recover fully. Los Angeles is keeping the situation under wraps to diminish overwhelming concern, but the team is creating just that by keeping the details in the dark.
On top of that, his injury struggles to begin the campaign suggest that it may remain a persistent uphill battle to stay on the court. His absence places extra scrutiny on the rest of the roster while leaving them to play without their best player.
James is in his 19th season, but he’s the engine that drives the Lakers, leading the franchise to sustained success. His absence leaves a gaping void while it doesn’t allow the retooled roster around him and Anthony Davis to find their identity or playing style that will work best.
The Lakers will monitor the situation closely, but the longer James remains sidelined, the more concern it will generate.
Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook must lead Los Angeles forward
As James remains sidelined, the Lakers must keep the boat afloat.
It places the onus on the team’s two other stars to pick up the slack. Davis is playing well in his third campaign in Los Angeles, averaging a double-double with 23.9 points and 11.1 rebounds while shooting 50.2% from the field.
Although he’s struggled tremendously from 3-point range (12.5%) and the free-throw line (73.8%), the eight-time All-Star remains an elite two-way factor. Davis demonstrated that in Monday’s overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets, with a game-high 32 points along with five blocks and three steals despite dealing with a stomach illness and head cold.
The Lakers need Davis to guide the charge, while Russell Westbrook must find consistency behind him. Westbrook recorded his second triple-double as a Laker against Charlotte, but he again struggled with his shooting and decision-making. In the fourth quarter, he committed five of his seven turnovers that contributed to the Hornets erasing a 14-point deficit.
Westbrook needs to be a game-changing factor and not the offensive liability he’s routinely become through the first 11 games. The former league MVP holds plenty of time to turn it around, but it’s a trend that must change if the Lakers want to contend for the NBA title.
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