LeBron James ankle injury

LeBron’s injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Lakers

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A gruesome turned ankle has ruled LeBron James out indefinitely. The Lakers’ MVP candidate has a high ankle sprain, joining co-star Anthony Davis on the sidelines.

This impacts the MVP race. It throws up questions about the Lakers’ title chances. Western Conference foes will have a renewed state of confidence, and it could have major implications on the NBA trade deadline.

LeBron ankle injury 2021: Injury status alters entire league

Treading water without LeBron and Davis seems ambitious for the Lakers. They have been inconsistent of late, and any team is in danger of racking up losses when they are without their two best players. This LeBron ankle injury is not a minor issue. James’ quick recoveries in the past are very unlikely to be repeated for a high ankle sprain.


There’s no denying this is a boost for Utah, Phoenix and Denver. Perhaps it makes them more aggressive at the trade deadline. For the Lakers, one wonders whether this increases the chance of sticking rather than twisting. Rob Pelinka may opt to play the buyout market rather while they await news on Davis and LeBron’s injuries.


Potential Lakers slide

It’s unclear when the All-NBA stars will return. The Lakers have a -1.5 net rating in minutes without LeBron, and that leaves plenty of questions. Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Dennis Schroder are under pressure to deliver on a consistent basis. Falling into the play-in would be a worst case scenario for the Lakers, and while that’s still a way off, it’s far from impossible.

The Lakers won’t care about seeding. Having their best players ready for the postseason is all that matters. Homecourt advantage is unlikely to sway series one way or the other, and the Lakers will be unafraid to face any team in the Western Conference.

Some could argue this is a chance for LeBron’s teammates to prove themselves. Others would see this as a threat to their favorites status given the potentially daunting route to the Finals if they have to face three of the Jazz, Suns, Clippers and Nuggets to come out of the West.

The Lakers are no better than a .500 team as currently constructed. LeBron’s ankle injury and Davis’ Achilles issue leave them with a roster barely comparable to their West peers. If Frank Vogel was offered a .500 record between now and when LeBron returns from injury, he would bite your hand off.

LeBron’s injury could help Lakers

Perhaps this injury is a warning sign for LeBron. His desire to chase a fifth MVP has been public knowledge since last season. With a packed schedule, was he going to overexert himself in the second half of the season? How would that impact the Lakers’ title chances?

Assuming James recovers from this ankle injury, he will get rest he otherwise wouldn’t have. He should return fresh for the playoffs. Providing the Lakers avoid falling into the play-in, they will be favorites to come out the West if LeBron and Davis are healthy.

A blessing in disguise might be strong. Injuries are a worry, particularly in your mid-thirties, even for an ironman like LeBron. Yet, it’s feasible this ugly-looking ankle turn on March 20th will not be a disastrous moment in the Lakers’ season. If they’re lifting the title in summer, and LeBron wins another Finals MVP, maybe, just maybe, the extra rest will have provided a positive for the Lakers.

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