Since star forward LeBron James became sidelined with a groin injury, the Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled south. James’ injury continues to lack clarity regarding the extent of the ailment. However, the Lakers’ former trainer may have outlined a concerning dilemma for James that may lie ahead.
LeBron James sidelined with an abdominal injury
Entering his 19th season, James pushed toward proving he’s past the injury problems that plagued him last season.
However, it quickly became a campaign hindered by nagging ailments that have limited his availability. The 36-year-old has played six games, missing nearly the last several days due to an abdominal strain. Before that, he sat out two games after suffering an injury scare to his right ankle against Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 24.
James managed to play through it but aggravated his groin in the win over the Houston Rockets on Nov. 2. James is expected to miss several games due to the ailment. He is averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in five games played while shooting 46.7% from the floor and 34.7% from beyond the arc.
As the Lakers trek forward, the franchise may be dealing with a more dire situation involving the star forward than previously believed.
Lakers may have a nightmarish situation on their hands with LeBron James
As James progresses through the recovery, it’s been left without much clarity regarding the extent of the ailment.
The Lakers haven’t revealed any details aside from the anticipated time frame, sidelining him missing several games. It’s brought back memories linked to the groin injury that cost him 17 straight games in the 2018-19 campaign.
Former Lakers’ head strength and condition coach Tim DiFrancesco provided clarity through an Instagram post on Saturday. He detailed that the injury occurs with the overextension of the torso combined with extreme force, such as during a two-hand dunk.
His post outlined that the recovery time frame ranges between four to eight weeks, even if it’s a minor strain. During a recent interview with Bill Oram of The Athletic, Difrancesco underlined that the severity of the injury will provide the timetable for a full recovery.
“Especially the way he plays, it’s tough for me to see him getting back under four weeks,” said DiFrancesco. “Then again, he’s a different dude, so I wouldn’t put anything past him…These are such delicate injuries that can respond to rest with pain relief quickly, but they are highly susceptible to re-injury if returned too quickly.”
It leaves a significant question mark concerning when James will return to the fold. His absence has significantly impacted the team, as the Lakers hold a 1-3 record in the games he’s missed.
If anything, it underlines that the Lakers must prepare for the realistic scenario they are without their star forward for the next few weeks.
Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis must pick up the slack
With James out for the foreseeable future, it pushes the onus on the Lakers’ two other stars to carry the load.
Russell Westbrook continues to struggle to find his footing, as he’s averaging 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.9 assists while shooting 41.8% from the floor and 26.8% from 3-point range. Westbrook is coming off arguably his worst game in a Lakers’ uniform, scoring eight points on 1-of-13 shooting and committing six turnovers in the 105-90 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Meanwhile, Anthony Davis must work past his recent issues, as he exited Saturday’s game early due to a stomach problem. Los Angeles needs Westbrook and Davis to headline the charge if the team hopes to push forward until James returns.