The abdominal strain for Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James may not be as serious as initially feared.
Windhorst discussed James’ status Wednesday on This Just In and said (around the two-minute mark) that the problem “is not a severe injury” and that the 17-time All-Star’s “rehab is going well.”
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported Thursday that James was expected to be out for at least one week. Tim DiFrancesco, who worked as the Lakers’ head strength and conditioning coach until 2017, speculated in an Instagram post that 4-8 weeks could be a reasonable timeline for James’ return.
The questions about the four-time MVP are less about this injury itself and center more on what it represents.
Prior to the 2018-19 season, his first with L.A., James’ longest spell away from the court was the result of a self-imposed exile from the Cleveland Cavaliers for a few weeks because of knee and back ailments.
In his first season with the Lakers, he battled a groin strain that limited him to 55 appearances. This March, a high ankle sprain hindered his performance after he returned to the court ahead of the 2021 postseason.
James turns 37 on Dec. 30, and he has logged the fifth-most regular-season minutes (50,277) and most playoff minutes (11,035) in NBA history. That doesn’t include the mileage he accrued while competing in three Summer Olympics.
Sooner or later, LeBron is going to lose a step or watch his aura of invincibility get punctured. In the case of the latter, it appears that process is unfolding before our eyes.
Even if the future Hall of Famer makes a quick return from his abdominal injury, he may be more susceptible to the wear and tear that NBA players absorb over the course of a season.