LeBron James injures his ankle in the second quarter and does not return.
UPDATE: LeBron James has been diagnosed with a high right ankle sprain and will be out indefinitely, multiple outlets reported after the Lakers star was injured in Saturday’s home loss to the Hawks.
Recovery rates vary, but high ankle sprains typically take anywhere from six weeks to three months to mend. The Lakers’ final regular season game is in roughly two months, on May 16.
James lands on the injured list with fellow star Anthony Davis, who is out at least several more weeks with the Achilles strain that has sidelined him since Feb. 16.
James, 36, had missed just one game this season, when a left ankle sprain kept him out against the Kings in the final game before the All-Star break. He hasn’t missed significant time since a hamstring injury cost him 17 straight games midway through the 2018-19 season.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, it will mark only the fifth time in James’ 18-year career that he’s missed at least five consecutive games.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James injured his right ankle during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, leaving the court in visible frustration after attempting to play through the injury.
James left early in the second quarter, and the team later announced he would not return. The Lakers didn’t say whether James will have X-rays or an MRI, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the X-rays came back negative.
The 17-time All-Star got hurt when he rolled his right ankle and then made awkward contact with defender Solomon Hill on the perimeter. James fell to the court and screamed, briefly rolling around in obvious pain.
But he got up shortly afterward and walked it off during a timeout. The 36-year-old superstar stayed in the game and even hit a corner 3-pointer on the Lakers’ ensuing possession.
James then called another timeout moments later and took himself out of the game, smacking a chair in frustration as he walked off the court behind the Lakers’ basket. He immediately went to the locker room accompanied by the Lakers’ training staff and Anthony Davis, who hasn’t played since Valentine’s Day due to a right calf injury.
James is averaging 25.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists in a commanding 18th NBA season for the defending champion Lakers, who sit second in the overall NBA standings despite Davis’ lengthy absence.
James’ inspired play is the biggest reason for Los Angeles’ continued success, with his teammates and observers around the league touting him for his fifth NBA MVP award. He was playing the final game of a spectacular individual week during the Lakers’ four-game winning streak, with back-to-back triple-doubles before a 37-point performance against Charlotte on Thursday.
James’ 3-pointer gave him 11 points against the Hawks, extending to 1,036 his NBA-record streak of consecutive games with at least 10 points. The streak is by far the longest in NBA history, with Michael Jordan second at 866.
In addition to his incredible talent, James has been remarkably durable over his NBA career. He had never missed more than a handful of games in any season before his first year with the Lakers, when a groin injury sidelined him for 17 consecutive games.
James had missed only one game this season, sitting out the Lakers’ final game before he had to travel to Atlanta for the All-Star break.