LeBron James’ latest injury may not be as bad as the Los Angeles Lakers had initially feared.
James, who re-injured his groin in their 111-106 loss to the Clippers on Christmas, is expected to travel with the Lakers to Portland and is “on track” to play against the Trail Blazers on Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
James is officially listed as questionable for the matchup and did not speak with the media on Friday.
Patrick Beverley collided with James in the first quarter of the game at the Staples Center and kneed him in the groin, causing the lingering injury to flare up. While James finished the night with 23 points, he shot just 9-of-24 from the field and reached the free-throw line only four times. He missed 10 shots from behind the arc, too, the most 3-pointers he’s ever missed in a single game.
“I felt healthy going into the game,” James said after the loss, via ESPN. “I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Bev, and it kind of set me right back to where I was five days ago.”
The Lakers reportedly approached James about sitting out and resting the injury until he’s fully recovered, too, apparently not willing to take any chances with the 34-year-old star. James suffered a very similar groin injury on Christmas Day last year, too, one that limited him to just 55 games last season. This latest injury, however, is reportedly much less severe and on the opposite side of last year’s injury.
James has averaged 25.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and a career-high 10.6 assists this season, leading the Lakers, who have lost four straight, to a 24-7 record — the best in the Western Conference.
Regardless, it sounds like James may not end up missing any time at all.
“I’m always around the clock with my body, getting my treatment,” James said Wednesday, via ESPN. “If I’m feeling great, I’ll be in the lineup [Saturday]. If I’m feeling well, I’ll be in the lineup. We’ll see what happens.”
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