With a little less than two months before the NBA playoffs begin, LeBron James will be on the sidelines for an extended period of time as the fourth-place Los Angeles Lakers try to catch the Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz.
According to The Athletic, the Lakers superstar will miss 4-to-6 weeks with an ankle injury that occurred last weekend in a game against the Atlanta Hawks.
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The Lakers, who have a 28-16 record and are four games behind the first-place Jazz. They will need to tread water over the next few weeks without James, and power forward Anthony Davis, who is also dealing with nagging injuries.
Prior to the injury, James was on the path to another MVP season. He is averaging a team-high 25.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
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James, 36, is not one to be hampered by injuries. He suffered a groin injury in his first season with the Lakers, which caused him to miss out on the playoffs for the first time since his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Barring a total collapse, even with James’ injury, the Lakers shouldn’t have an issue making the playoffs. If James is out 6 weeks, that would mark his return almost a full 3 weeks before the start of the playoffs on May 22.
However, if the Lakers fall in the standings during James’ absence, it could mean they will face a tougher matchup in the first round of the playoffs.