Fortunately for the Purple and Gold, Anthony Davis is set to suit up for the game despite the star big man’s hip injury.
LeBron James (calf) is officially OUT for tonight’s game against the Blazers while Anthony Davis (hip) has been upgraded to AVAILABLE.
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) November 12, 2023
James has had an impressive start to the 2023-24 campaign, especially considering he is in his 21st season and will turn 39 in December.
He has appeared in the Lakers’ first nine games this season, averaging 25.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per contest. He has also continued to defy Father Time by converting 56.9 percent of his shots so far. If he were to shoot at that rate or better for the remainder of the campaign, it would mark his career-high in field-goal percentage.
While it would have been ideal for James to play against the Blazers, the team is likely looking to make sure he is healthy enough for a potential postseason run later on. He has already logged a substantial number of minutes in the opening weeks of the campaign, despite Lakers coach Darvin Ham stating after L.A.’s season opener that the four-time MVP’s playing time would be managed considerably this season.
Ever since Ham said that James playing around 29 minutes would “in all likelihood” be a trend each game this season, the 19-time All-Star has seen action an average of 35.7 minutes per match.
The Lakers will have to deal with Portland without him, although they do carry some advantages going into the matchup.
For one, the Blazers have lost two consecutive games and will be missing several players, including Scoot Henderson, Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III and Anfernee Simons.
Hopefully, Davis and the rest of the Lakers who are healthy can make up for James’ absence on Sunday. A win would allow the team to move up to 5-5 in the standings before facing off against the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings in a back-to-back set this coming week.