This is not good news for the Lakers and LeBron James.
An MRI showed “general swelling” in James’ left knee leaving coach Frank Vogel to announced Sunday his star will be out until swelling goes down.
“As long as the swelling is there, he’s going to be out and we’ll get him back as soon as we can,” Vogel told reporters.
The star flew back to Los Angeles on Saturday to get treatment on the knee, leaving the Lakers without his services as they finish a road trip in Atlanta on Sunday.
The news comes after James missed L.A.’s loss to the Sixers on Thursday and Friday’s loss to the Hornets.
The Lakers previously said James was day-to-day with knee soreness.
In his 18th season, James is experiencing arguably his most injury setbacks. He missed time earlier this season with an abdominal strain. Vogel may need to consider managing his load when he returns.
“I think about it every day,” the coach said. “We’re always mindful of the load that he’s carrying, in constant communication with him and the medical team. And in terms of what we do going forward with the knee and where he’s at, it’s really a heavy lean on the medical staff and [trainer] Mike Mancias and what they feel is best. It’s really not a head-coach thing as much as it is relying on the medical team.”
James, who turned 37 in December, is averaging 29.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists this season in one of his best offensive campaigns to date.
The injury adds to L.A.’s challenging season, which has been riddled with injuries in its second pandemic campaign. Lakers big man Anthony Davis returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing time with an MCL sprain in his left knee. Struggling Russell Westbrook is playing through a sore right knee.
The 24-26 Lakers are currently the ninth seed in the Western Conference and will need James healthy if they want to contend for a playoff spot.