LeBron James reportedly is not going to need surgery on his injured foot, and the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has started training after treating the ailment with rest.
ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin said on SportsCenter that James simply took time off to let his foot recover and has started his regimen to prepare for the 2023-24 season.
The ability to treat the injury without surgery conceivably could have been one of the contributing factors in James deciding to return to play for his 21st NBA season. After he kicked off his offseason by hinting at retirement, the 38-year-old announced during the ESPY Awards on Wednesday that he’s going to continue playing.
A report at the start of L.A.’s offseason indicated that James had a torn tendon in his foot for months, potentially bringing surgery into the equation.
Despite the injury to James, which caused him to miss about a month near the end of the 2022-23 regular season, the Lakers were able to rally into the play-in round and then qualify for the playoffs, with James back in action by then.
Once in the playoffs, Los Angeles surprisingly eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors before being swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. It was after that last series that James made some comments about potentially retiring.
He offered an update on his mindset while announcing his return when he was on stage with his family at the ESPY Awards.
James started 54 regular season games last season, his fewest ever in a full 82-game season, but when on the court, remained one of the league’s top players. He averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game, similar to his marks in his four previous seasons with Los Angeles.
The Lakers have put James in position to contend for his fifth NBA title by making several important moves during the 2023 offseason, another reason he may have decided to take another run at it.
They re-signed Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura while adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Jaxson Hayes. Anthony Davis also will be back and could end up being motivated by his contract situation.
James’ playing time could be monitored during the season, but simply having him back in action for another campaign is sure to be pleasing to Lakers fans and others around the NBA.