LeBron James Exits Game with Ankle Injury, Believes He’ll Never Be 100% Healthy Again

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar, LeBron James, missed 20 games over six weeks. The 36-year-old has been durable for most of his career, but he already missed a lot of time off-court this season with an ankle injury. His anticipated return to the court on Friday night ended in a 110-106 disappointing loss to the Sacramento Kings. In the next game on Sunday, James left the court against the Toronto Raptors midway through the fourth quarter and didn’t return to play due to another ankle issue.

He missed the end of Sunday’s Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Toronto Raptors with right ankle soreness. He had contributed 19 points, seven rebounds, and six assists on 6-for-11 shooting in 28 minutes before exiting the game. James came out with just under seven minutes left in the game, and the Lakers were behind by 16. Even after the team cut the deficit to six points with just under a minute to play, he was not allowed to return.

“The first half it feels really good, warming up for the game it feels really good, but at halftime, it gets sore on me. It feels tight. I don’t have too much level of concern, but I need to be healthy,” LeBron said of his right ankle.

“His ankle developed some soreness; we decided not to bring him back. We’ll see how he’s feeling tomorrow.” Lakers coach Frank Vogel described the injury.

The ankle issue had visibly bothered LeBron well before he left the game. He was not as quick as he usually is. He was not attacking the rim or glass, not chasing after loose balls, and not defending with his usual tenacity. The Lakers lost six of their last seven games and will face a tough stretch of games this week taking on the Nuggets, Clippers, Trail Blazers, Suns, and Knicks.

The Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets on Monday night in the second game of a back-to-back, leaving James’ status in the air for that matchup. Before starting the 2021 season, James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers that will last until the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.