LeBron James doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Nuggets with back strain; Kyle Kuzma is probable

LeBron James
MILWAUKEE, WI – DECEMBER 19: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 19, 2019 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images).

In Thursday’s loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, LeBron James struggled at times although he still ended up with a triple-double including 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists (-14 as well which was the only negative +/- in the starting lineup).

It appears that we now have a little bit of an explanation for LeBron’s struggles on the court in Milwaukee, as it appears that LeBron was playing through an injury sustained in Tuesday’s loss against the Indiana Pacers, according to Spectrum SportsNet reporter, Mike Trudell.

As explained here, a thoracic muscle strain in a strain in the upper or middle of the back. The injury had to have impacted LeBron’s explosiveness, which he never really showed in the Lakers 111-104 loss to the Bucks. As Kyle Goon/Southern Califronia News Group states here, the news was announced by Trudell and Vogel following the Lakers’ practice on Saturday, in which LeBron James didn’t play. Obviously it’ll hurt the Lakers in Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets if LeBron doesn’t play. In the Lakers’ December 3rd matchup against the Nuggets, the Lakers won behind LeBron’s 25 points, nine assists, and six rebounds. But, Lakers fans are probably more worried about LeBron’s status for Wednesday’s Christmas matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. If sitting out against the Nuggets means LeBron plays against the Clippers, I think we’ll take it.

While all of that news isn’t encouraging, there was someone who had a full practice today who has missed some time of late, and that is Kyle Kuzma.

Kuzma has missed the past five games with his ankle sprain, and his return might be much needed with an absence from LeBron. Even if LeBron finds a way to play, the Lakers could probably use Kuzma’s potential shot creation, as they’ve struggled in that regard at times with LeBron James or Anthony Davis on the bench.

We’ll keep you updated between now and tomorrow with LeBron and Kuzma’s statuses for Sunday’s game against the Nuggets, as well as their statuses for Wednesday’s Christmas Day matchup against the Clippers.

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