The Los Angeles Lakers got their first win of the season on Sunday but it did not come without some worries. LeBron James went down in a heap in the second half after a Grizzlies player fell onto his leg, bringing back bad memories of last season when a somewhat similar play led to James playing the fewest games of his long career.
“My first thought was ‘Not again,'” James said to reporters after the game, bringing up last year’s injury as a comparison.
“It’s a little sore right now and obviously I think it’s going to be a little sore tomorrow. But obviously I’m a round-the-clock guy when it comes to treatment so hopefully I’ll be ready to go on Tuesday.”
As it stands, the Lakers are listing LeBron as questionable to play against the Spurs on Tuesday, downgrading him after they originally listed him as probable to play on Monday. It looks like they dodged a bullet and avoided a major injury even with the downgrade. Still, having a scare like that this early in the season is not exactly what fans were hoping for.
With Tuesday’s matchup in San Antonio being the first of a back-to-back, it might give the Lakers a good excuse to rest James for at least one of the two games. Not only could they help LeBron recover more quickly with this latest knock but it could also have the added benefit of giving Russell Westbrook some extra time to run the show and continue getting into rhythm and adjusting to his new team.
Even with the addition of a new superstar, keeping James healthy is crucial to the Lakers’ chances of winning a title. It’s important to allow him to recover fully from early injuries and not let him carry those deep into the season where they can affect his performance or lead to even more severe injuries.