LeBron James missed the LA Lakers Saturday night game against the Golden State Warriors in an effort to keep James as fresh as possible. The Warriors went on to beat the Lakers, who are without Lonzo Ball due to injury as well. Klay Thompson led all scorers with 28 points, making up for a shaky 15 points, 5-15 shooting performance from Steph Curry.
LeBron has now missed 18 games due to a nagging groin injury. The Lakers have struggled without the small forward, going 6-12. The longevity of this injury is causing concerns for many fans. After all, it was first reported to be a day-to-day injury, and wasn’t expected to keep LeBron out of action for more than 5-7 days. This estimation soon stretched from day-to-day to being reevaluated after every two weeks, leaving LeBron out for a total of five and a half weeks. James has only played one game since returning for injury, an OT win against the Clippers in Los Angeles. James registered a 40 minute outing that night, and led the Lakers to victory with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
It’s obvious that the Lakers will only go as far as LeBron can take them, leaving the Lakers in a very precarious position. LeBron is now 34 years old, and his body is not responding to the wear and tear like it used to. The physical, slashing style of LeBron relies heavily on sharp cuts, and explosive moments, all things that are currently being affected by his injured groin. With the Lakers already out of the 8 playoff places in the Western Conference, LA now has to play catch-up for the rest of the season. The Lakers trail the Clippers by 2.5 games, and will need a healthy LeBron if they expect to gain any ground on their crosstown rivals by the end of the regular season.