Lakers’ LeBron James exits loss to Clippers with groin injury
Team doctors will evaluate James on Thursday and give him a medical image on his groin to determine the extent of the injury.
James limped off the court with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter clutching his groin. Tim said he had pain in his left leg.
“I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary on the play,” James said of the sequence when he appeared to adjust something while announcing the Clippers Paul George. “Right when I landed, I felt a little cramp or strain in my groin. So right after that I had to go out on the next play down when I went to the free throw line.”
James, 37, suffered a left groin tear during the 2018-19 season — his first in LA — that caused him to miss 17 straight games from late December to late January.
Comparing his current discomfort to what he went through four years ago, James said, “It’s not that bad.”
James hasn’t ruled out playing in LA’s next game on Friday vs Sacramento Kings.
“I’ll go around [the clock] 24-hour treatment, and if it’s OK on Friday, I’ll be in the lineup,” he said.
The injury marred a strong performance by James, who had 30 points on 12-for-22 shooting, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals in 32 minutes.
Lakers coach Darwin Hamm said his message to James after the game was to “do what you need to do, just take care of your body.” But losing James — the team’s leader in minutes, points and assists — for any length of time would be a major challenge for a team that is 2-9 after its fourth straight loss.
“I mean, it’s just a lot of trouble,” Hamm said. “[James] he tried only to be with us and play at a high level. I thought he was doing really, really well tonight. But it’s just something that is the NBA season, man. You have to be ready for a little bit of everything. We’ll see when it’s evaluated and we’ll be ready to move forward.”
Hamm said he doesn’t want anyone on the Lakers to feel the need to be a “hero” if James misses any action, but Anthony Davis he said he would feel compelled to take on more.
“For me, the mindset shifts to just going out there, being aggressive and trying to find ways to help the team win — whether it’s getting more shots or knowing that it’s my job to make these guys better,” said Davis, who was 21. point and nine rebounds against the Clippers. “That’s my job anyway. But it’s amplified when someone like LeBron is out there with everything he can do on the floor.”
James seemed relatively calm about the injury, saying, “I stay level-headed no matter what happens,” but there was one issue that irked him during his postgame press conference: free throws.
He went 2-for-4 from the line Wednesday, the fifth time this season he attempted four free throws or less.
“I’d also like a whistle when I get hit,” James said. “I watched a lot of guys tonight shoot a lot of rebounds and go nine, 13 times to the free throw line.
“I need to learn how to flop or something. Seriously. I need to learn how to do that. Pull my head back or do something to get to the free throw line because ‘I missed.’ [he hears as an explanation from the referees] is too repetitive. That’s three games in a row of ‘I missed it.'”
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