It appears that LeBron James’ recent return to the Los Angeles Lakers caused more harm than good. The team lost both games he played in and now he’s missing multiple more games due to his ankle injury. The most concerning thing to come from LeBron’s return was when he revealed that he’d never be 100% healthy again.
Whether his statement was true or not, some took issue with it. Former NBA player turned ESPN analyst Jay Williams called out LeBron for what he said.
“LeBron James took no time off,” Williams said on Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin. “Remember after they won a championship, everybody started talking about, ‘Maybe LeBron James should load manage and really kind of ease into this.’ He didn’t do that. He refused to do that, played almost every game throughout the season. I respect that about LeBron James, puts him in a tough situation now. I still think if he’s healthy they’ll be OK.
“As a guy who played for the [Chicago] Bulls, who has watched Michael Jordan for a long time, I’ve never heard MJ say something like that. MJ just wouldn’t say anything.”
It seems like a little much to bring Michael Jordan up in regards to these comments. Had Jordan made a similar comment to that of LeBron, nobody would care or question it. This just seems like a weak excuse to take a shot at the superstar.
— Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin (@KeyJayandZ) May 5, 2021
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LeBron Will Have to Play Through Pain for Rest of Season
Due to the fact that he’s been an iron man for most of his career, the hope was that LeBron would be good to go after taking some time off. Unfortunately for the Lakers, that hasn’t been the case. He’s already suffered a setback and probably won’t be healthy for the rest of the season. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, LeBron will have discomfort during the Lakers’ playoff run.
“I think [LeBron] is going to try to play again in the regular season. … He probably can’t get [the ankle] fully healthy until the offseason. He’s going to have to play with discomfort in the playoffs.”@wojespn with the latest on LeBron. pic.twitter.com/vjI9htOcGJ
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 5, 2021
The level of discomfort is unclear but this could be really bad for Los Angeles. LeBron didn’t play his best basketball during his brief return. If he continues to play like that, the Lakers aren’t going to make a deep playoff run.
How Concerned Should the Lakers Be?
While the Lakers should be nervous, it’s still too early for them to panic. LeBron has defied the odds many times in his career. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if he got into the playoffs all looked like the best player in the world again. However, this is a worrisome situation.
Anthony Davis hasn’t been his same superstar self since he returned. If LeBron isn’t 100% and Davis continues to struggle, the Lakers are in serious trouble. The team doesn’t look like they’ll have the luxury of an easy first-round matchup. It’s very possible they have to play the Clippers in Round 1, which many consider the second-best team in the Western Conference. The Lakers have a lot to figure out but not a lot of time. Their whole season could be contingent on LeBron returning to MVP form on a bum ankle.
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