LeBron James turns ankle, availability in question with Los Angeles Lakers in crucial stretch

NEW ORLEANS — LeBron James mentioned his left ankle felt “horrible” after turning it within the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers116-108 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, and his availability to play Tuesday in Dallas is in query as L.A. faces a vital last stretch to attempt to lock in a spot within the play-in match.

“I mean, I have no idea how I finished the game, to be honest, after watching that replay,” James mentioned after ending with 39 factors, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 42 minutes in opposition to New Orleans. “It’s pretty nasty.”

James’ ankle was wrapped after the sport, and he was strolling with a noticeable limp.

He was not sure whether or not it will trigger him to overlook any video games.

“I hope not,” James mentioned. “S—. I hope not, because I hate missing games. That’s not in my nature.”

He suffered the harm with 10:09 remaining within the second quarter with the Lakers up 36-29 when he stepped on Pelicans heart Jaxson Hayes‘ sneaker and turned his ankle outward. He stayed on the ground for L.A.’s ensuing possession earlier than the Lakers referred to as timeout, and he ended up staying within the sport after re-lacing his sneakers.

“I was going in for an offensive rebound and me and Jaxson basically stepped at the same time,” James mentioned. “He got his foot on the ground before I could get my foot back on the hardwood. I stepped on his foot and rolled my ankle.”

Mentioned Lakers coach Frank Vogel: “It’s tough. It’s just been that kind of season. He was just in an incredible groove right around then, and credit him for toughing it out. But you can see he was limited on it somewhat the rest of the way. But he battled through it.”

James mentioned that if the sport hadn’t meant a lot to the Lakers’ playoff image — L.A. fell from No. 9 to No. 10 within the Western Convention with the loss, now a half sport behind the Pelicans and only a sport up on the No. 11 San Antonio Spurs — he would have “probably not” completed the sport.

“I mean, from the time I turned my ankle I felt a sharp pain run up my leg. It started getting hot. And I’ve been there before with ankle sprains before,” he mentioned. “But I didn’t want to come out of the game because I understood [the importance]. I mean, I just wanted to win the game. I understood how big of a game it was for us.”

James mentioned he had already began remedy on the ankle earlier than leaving the world and deliberate to proceed it “around the clock” main as much as Tuesday’s sport in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks.

The cabin strain when L.A. flies from New Orleans to Dallas on Sunday night time, nonetheless, will not assist the restoration.

“It’s horrible right now. And unfortunately, we’re about to hop on a flight, too,” James mentioned. “See what happens day-to-day. But it’s pretty sore right now.”

James was nonetheless efficient within the second quarter — going 5-for-6 from the sphere (4-for-5 from 3) for 14 factors as L.A. pushed its result in as many as 23 — however his play stagnated within the second half. He scored 14 factors on 5-for-14 capturing after the break, and the Lakers had been outscored by 24 factors within the 21 minutes he was within the sport.

“I just lost all explosiveness, obviously,” he mentioned.

Lakers reserve Malik Monk mentioned he nonetheless has perception, regardless of L.A.’s present predicament, largely due to James’ presence.

“I’m never not confident in what we can do,” Monk mentioned. “Especially when we got Bron on our team.”

Requested whether or not he can ship on the boldness his teammates like Monk have in him, James mentioned it should all rely upon how properly he can heal.

“Well, if I’m healthy, for sure. Obviously I’m pretty banged up with that ankle,” James mentioned. “But I still feel like if I’m on the floor and I can make things happen then we still got a pretty good chance to make something out of this season.”

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