Hard to see what happens to right foot/ankle but the way LeBron grabbed his foot and said he felt a “POP” makes me think
—Plantar fascia injury
— Dr. Evan Jeffries, DPT (@GameInjuryDoc) February 26, 2023
James miraculously played through the injury that is now expected to require multiple opinions, sources said, and the Lakers are bracing for his absence to be multiple weeks. https://t.co/zuovQ2wVzc
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 28, 2023
James played through the injury on Sunday, but the Lakers are bracing for him to be out of the lineup for a significant period of time.
We spoke with renowned sports injury analyst Dr. Evan Jeffries, DPT, who said that James’ injury is likely to be one of three things.
Timeline to return will be dependent on severity
Grade II: 3-6 weeks
Grade III: Months and surgery could be required
— Dr. Evan Jeffries, DPT (@GameInjuryDoc) February 28, 2023
Jeffries told us that based on the mechanism, what he saw on the screen initially and James’ reaction, he figures that the injury is “nothing minor” at this point. The doctor also said that he could “kind of see [James’] foot cave in,” which would point to a midfoot injury.
“Typically when you see those types of injuries, and you hear, ‘I feel a pop,’ you’re thinking that there’s gotta be some sort of tear,” Jeffries told Lakers Daily. “That’s why immediately I’m thinking either plantar fascia tear, and then you figure midfoot. Lisfranc is considered midfoot, but it’s obviously most severe. Those are the concerning areas for me.”
Jeffries made it a point to emphasize that the Lakers typically like to downplay James’ injuries when they’re severe. As it stands today, the team has yet to release any type of X-ray results or diagnosis.
One positive note that the doctor made was that if it’s a plantar fascia tear, James may be able to play through it after a couple weeks of healing.
“Plantar fascia tear, they’re interesting because you need time to heal, but you can play through them,” said Jeffries.
However, if it’s indeed a plantar fascia rupture, Jeffries doesn’t see James coming back any sooner than three weeks.
“If it’s a midfoot, plantar, don’t see him coming back anything less than three weeks,” said Jeffries
If Lakers fans remember, superstar big man Anthony Davis also had to miss time earlier this season due to a stress reaction in his foot. Similar to the team’s response that injury, the Lakers are choosing to stay mum about James’ injury until they can get multiple opinions.
“Even for the A.D. injury, they had to wait like seven days to get proper imaging for the swelling to go down,” said Jeffries. “Some of the Lisfranc stuff you can’t see right away on the X-ray unless it’s severe.”
The four-time MVP’s injury couldn’t come at a worse time as the Lakers try to make a push for a spot in the postseason.
They’re currently in 12th place in the Western Conference and just one game out of a play-in spot. However, their goal this season is to reportedly make the sixth seed so they wouldn’t have to complete in any play-in games.
James is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game this season. The Lakers will now turn to Davis, D’Angelo Russell and others to help right the ship while the four-time champion recovers.