It has now been nearly 3 weeks since the Lakers star strained his groin in that fateful Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors and the nightmare is not yet over for Lakers fans. It was reported this morning that LeBron will miss at least 3 more games during his recovery, making this the most serious injury of James’ career (11 games).
This was initially reported as a tear, then downgraded to a sprain after further testing was done. James tweeted that he “dodged a bullet” by simply straining it, but this is the same injury that led Steph Curry to miss 11 games earlier in the season.
Likely James will be back at 100% and ready to lead the Lakers back into the top 3-5 seeds in the West, but in the meantime the team has gone 3-5 in his absence, with 1-2 likely wins in the next 3 games. The star of the show has undoubtedly been Kyle Kuzma, putting up a career high 41 points against the Pistons on Wednesday night.
This injury may in fact be helping the Lakers more than it may appear. For the entire season, the team had looked lost when James was not on the court, and this injury forced them to sink or swim without the presence of James. There have been some who stepped up in big ways (Kuzma, Hart, and Ball), and some who have not quite risen to the occasion (Ingram and Caldwell-Pope). This is good to know, and something that the Lakers had to figure out if they wish to advance in the playoffs. Kuzma is the CLEAR 2nd option, and Ingram is possibly expendable if it means bringing in talent to help LeBron and the Lakers bring a title to LA.
LeBron obviously helps any team he’s on (see Cleveland), but his absence has forced the lakers to come together and show what this young core can do.