LeBron James Reignites Another Major Concern for the Struggling Lakers: ‘Every Now and Then I Feel It a Little Bit Down There’

The Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled through the first quarter of the 2021-22 campaign. Much of which has featured LeBron James struggling to stay on the court due to nagging injuries. James sparked concerns regarding his health again.

Lakers inch past the Pistons

A week after the on-court altercation between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart, the Lakers faced the Pistons, hoping to earn another much-needed win.

Los Angeles battled through a back-and-forth first half but created separation behind a 16-0 run in the third quarter. Although the Lakers grabbed command, the Pistons stayed within striking distance in the fourth quarter, making a late-game push but fell just short.

However, Los Angeles’ big three proved to be the difference as each scored 20-plus points. James led the charge with a game-high 33 points along with nine assists. Russell Westbrook continued his forward march with 24 points and nine assists, marking his fifth straight contest recording at least 20 points.

Anthony Davis shook off his season-long shooting struggles behind his double-double effort with 24 points and 10 rebounds while hitting both of his 3-point attempts. The Lakers captured a much-needed win but didn’t escape entirely unscathed as James created more concern over his health.

LeBron James reignites another major concern for the struggling Lakers: ‘Every now and then I feel it a little bit down there’

The Lakers returned to the win column, but it came with an all-too-familiar issue cropping up concerning James’ health.

The 17-time All-Star put forth his third straight 30-point outing, but he became bothered by his lingering abdomen injury with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Despite that, James battled through it to help his team close out the second win in eight days against the Pistons.

In the on-court postgame interview with Spectrum Sportsnet’s Mike Trudell, James voiced that he’s still working through the issue, revealing he occasionally feels pain.

‘Yeah, I’ll be alright,” James said. “I am still working through it. It’s my third game back since the injury. Every game it’s getting better and better, but every now and then I feel it a little bit down there. It didn’t linger too much and that’s a good thing.”

The 36-year-old sat out two weeks due to the abdominal strain, missing eight straight games. The Lakers remained hush around the extent of the injury, but it’s clear the star forward returned sooner than he should have.

Not only does his team need him to lead the way, but he wants to squash any possible narrative that Father Time is finally catching up with him concerning his health. The Lakers will monitor the situation closely, but it doesn’t appear James will let it force him to miss more time.

Lakers need LeBron James to lead the charge

The grander picture concerning James’ abdominal issue is that the star forward doesn’t believe he can’t afford to miss more playing time.

The Lakers have stumbled through the first quarter of the season, splitting their first 22 games. Los Angeles has shown flashes of promise behind their big three, but lingering problems defensively coupled with third-quarter shortcoming have only fueled the outside concern.

It further underlines that the Lakers need the four-time league MVP to play at an elite level to push them forward. Los Angeles still possesses plenty of time to figure it out, but the clock is ticking to develop its identity and fluidity. The front office put together a veteran-laden roster to lessen the adjustment curve, but it’s a process that injuries have heavily impacted.

James must be the driving force, while Westbrook and Davis must play their parts as pivotal factors. Time will tell if the star forward in his 19th campaign can effectively carry that massive load toward NBA title contention.

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