Excitement was tempered after the Los Angeles Lakers soundly defeated the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day because they finished the win without LeBron James, who suffered a strained groin in the third quarter.
James attempted to stretch and remain in the game but walked gingerly to the locker room and never returned. There was optimism that James avoided serious injury, though that was later followed by a report that suggested the Lakers expected to be without him for a decent number of games.
Including Wednesday, James has missed eight games. He was considered day-to-day until last weekend when the Lakers announced he would not travel on the two-game road trip and was due to be re-evaluated on Friday.
It seemingly ruled him out for that night’s matchup with the Utah Jazz as well, which Lakers head coach Luke Walton has now confirmed as James will remain in Los Angeles to be examined, per Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
This might have been inferred earlier, but Luke Walton just conformed that LeBron James is not traveling to Utah. He’s scheduled to have his medical re-evaluation Friday in LA.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 9, 2019
Amplifying the fact that the Lakers are without their leader is Rajon Rondo was also injured on Christmas and has since undergone surgery to repair a ligament that was damaged by a Grade 3 sprain of his right ring finger. Additionally, Kyle Kuzma missed 2.5 games due to back trouble.
Thus, more has fallen on Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, to mixed results. Walton criticized both players after a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they each responded the following night with stellar performances.
More of that will be needed if the Lakers are to remain afloat until James and/or Rondo return.
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