Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James missed Monday night’s game against Denver ― the back end of a back-to-back ― and is day to day with a sore right ankle, head coach Frank Vogel said. As of now, his status for Thursday’s game against the cross-town rival Clippers is uncertain, sources tell The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.
James left Sunday’s 121-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter and was ruled out due to right ankle soreness. James was playing in his second game back from a 20-game absence due to a high right ankle sprain.
“Last two games at halftime after the break, it’s gotten a little sore on me, a little tight and obviously coach decided not to put me back in towards the end because of that,” James said after the game. “So that’s pretty much it. … My thing is I need to be healthy and I need to make sure my ankle is where it was before, obviously before the injury.
“I don’t want to say I came back too early, but at the end of the day, I had to test it out and see where I was at.”
James checked out with about seven minutes left in Sunday’s game and went to the locker room. He played 28 minutes, totaling 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists after scoring 16 points in 32 minutes in Friday’s return to the court, his first game since March 20.
The Lakers lost their third straight and for the sixth time in seven games, including a 1-5 record since Anthony Davis returned from injury. They fell to 36-28 and into a tie with Dallas and Portland for the fifth spot in the West, as the teams try to avoid the seventh seed and the play-in, with eight games remaining.
James made it clear he’s no fan of the play-in tournament.
“Whoever came up with that shit needs to be fired,” he said.
“This is the lowest we’ve been in a while,” Davis said. “… But the only way is up. We really can’t get any lower than this.”