LeBron James offered an update on the idea that he might undergo surgery on his right foot in the offseason.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin indicated that James spoke with the network about the possibility.
“I’m going to get an MRI on it and see how the tendon either healed or not healed and go from there,” James told ESPN when asked if surgery might be an option this summer. “We’ll see what happens.”
James apparently admitted that his performance was affect by the foot injury after returning from it in March. However, he supposedly didn’t consider shutting down his season early, something that has happened to him in other seasons with the Lakers.
“I knew I could get to the finish line,” James told ESPN. “Obviously, I knew I had to deal with it and deal with the pain or deal with not being able to be myself before the injury, but there was nothing that made me feel like I couldn’t get to the finish line.”
Despite James’ best efforts, the finish line for the Lakers came on Monday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. The 113-111 loss allowed the Denver Nuggets to sweep the best-of-seven series and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in their history.
James scored 31 points during Game 4’s first half, but was held to just nine points after the break. Still, at the age of 38, he showed that he still ranks among the elite in the NBA.
However, James’ postgame remarks included talk about the possibility of retirement. The 2022-23 campaign was his 20th in the NBA, with his extensive playoff history serving as the equivalent of more than three full regular seasons.
Those comments could have been made out of the frustration he likely felt during the final minute of action. With 26 seconds remaining, he missed a fadeaway jumper, and his last shot was blocked as time expired.
For much of his career, James has been among the most durable players in the game. However, his five years with the Lakers have had numerous instances of injuries that have kept him out for extended periods.
The one year in which he was able to avoid any key injury was the 2019-20 season. That happened to be the season the Lakers won the franchise’s first NBA title in a decade, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing teams to play within a bubble in Orlando, Fla.
The likelihood that James returns for at least one more season seems strong, considering that he’s still brimming with plenty of confidence about his abilities. Asked by ESPN why he believes a full summer of rehabilitation will allow him to get back to the level he was at before the foot injury, James offered a simple response.
“Because I’m still better than 90 percent of the NBA,” he said. “Maybe 95.”
The Nuggets are now waiting to see if the Miami Heat can finish out their Eastern Conference Finals series with a four-game sweep of their own. Game 4 of that series is on Tuesday night in Miami.