Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham provided an injury update on superstar LeBron James.
Darvin Ham says they don’t want to run LeBron into the ground this early in the season so they are being proactive with his shin/calf issue and sitting him out tonight. He is considered day-to-day.
— Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand) November 13, 2023
It makes sense that Ham doesn’t want to run James down this early in the season, especially since the star forward has played 35 or more minutes in several games for the Lakers this season. On Friday night, James played 36:23 in the team’s win over the Phoenix Suns.
The four-time champion finished that game with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while shooting 11-for-17 from the field.
While James is still playing at an elite level, injuries have been a problem in his Lakers tenure.
Since joining the franchise prior to the 2018-19 season, James has appeared in more than 56 games just one time – the 2019-20 season. In that season, the Lakers went on to win the NBA Finals, the fourth time that James won a title in his NBA career.
Los Angeles made the Western Conference Finals last season despite the fact that James played in just 55 games due to a foot injury. The NBA’s all-time leading scorer did return for the end of the 2022-23 regular season and the team’s playoff run, helping the Lakers knock off the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in the postseason.
By sitting James against a Portland team that is just 3-5 this season, the Lakers are giving their star forward some a deserved break in a game that they could still win without him. The team will just need other players to step up on Sunday night.
So far this season, James is averaging 25.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game while shooting 56.9 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from 3-point range.
Portland traded away star Damian Lillard this offseason, and the team is in a bit of a rebuilding stage at the moment. That has led to a bit of a slow start in the 2023-24 season. Portland has lost two straight games heading into Sunday’s matchup.
The Lakers and Blazers are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. PST from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The Lakers are looking to get back to .500 on the season with a win.