Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James left Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors midway through the fourth quarter and didn’t return due to another ankle issue.
According to Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet, LeBron suffered from a sore right ankle, which is a concerning development for the Lakers since he has just returned from a 20-game absence due to a high-ankle injury on his right foot as well.
LeBron won’t return due to a sore right ankle.
He went straight to the locker room after checking out at his usual spot midway through the 4th Q.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) May 3, 2021
LeBron James quietly left the game and headed to the locker room after just 28 minutes of action. The Lakers then announced in the final minute of the contest that the King will not return, ending his night with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
To make matters worse for the Lakers, the loss is their third in a row and puts them on a three-way tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers with a 36-28 record. The Purple and Gold dropped to seventh in the Western Conference standings due to the tie-breaker rules, and they could easily fall in the standings should they struggle further.
Sure enough, LeBron’ latest injury is not a good sign for the Lakers, especially in this crucial stretch where they can’t afford to lose any more games. When James returned on Friday against the Sacramento Kings, head coach Frank Vogel did not give him any minutes restrictions and noted that they just have to be responsible about his playing time.
With what happened to the 36-year-old superstar against the Raptors, it is quite clear that LeBron is not yet at 100 percent and his minutes should be limited as he eases his way back.
It remains to be seen if LeBron will need to be sidelined in their next few games. After all, they will be playing the Denver Nuggets on Monday in the second game of a back-to-back before having a three-day rest.