The Lakers had a rather disastrous Sunday as starting point guard Dennis Schröder entered the league’s health and safety protocols which will possibly keep him out for the remainder of the regular season, they lost to the Raptors at home to slip to a tie for 7th in the West, and in the mid-fourth quarter of that loss LeBron James left with soreness in his right ankle and did not return.
Making matters worse is that the red-hot Denver Nuggets come into town on Monday for a back-to-back, meaning there wouldn’t be a lot of time for James to heal up to stay in the lineup to try and get the Lakers out of their current funk. After stating last night that they would wait to see how he feels on Monday morning, word emerged from Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, and quickly confirmed by Shams Charania, that James would indeed miss Monday’s game with Denver.
Reporting with @RamonaShelburne: Lakers star LeBron James is expected to sit out vs. Denver tonight to rest his right ankle, sources tell ESPN. James re-aggravated the ankle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Toronto. Lakers have lost 6 of 7 games.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2021
Lakers star LeBron James will miss tonight’s back-to-back vs. Denver with sore right ankle, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. His status is uncertain as of now for the next game, Thursday vs. Clippers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 3, 2021
It is obviously a major development for the Lakers, who will now be without James and Schröder in a game that, should they lose, would push them into the 7-seed and the play-in with seven games remaining. There’s time to dodge the play-in, which LeBron voiced his frustrations with on Sunday night, but it’s an uphill climb to do so given the tiebreaker situation and their issues with health and availability. The good news is that they don’t play again until Thursday, when they have an in-town showdown with the Clippers, so James will have three full days to rest his ankle and get treatment. Still, the reigning champs are in a precarious situation in the final two weeks of the season, and balancing rest, health, and trying not to have to deal with the play-in is a difficult task.