Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James could miss several weeks with a right foot injury, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about James’ health
James sustained the injury late in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 111-108 comeback victory against Dallas on Sunday. He finished the game, scoring 26 points but was overheard on ABC telling the Lakers bench, “I heard a pop.”
James, who left Dallas’ arena with a significant limp, is listed as “out” with right foot soreness for Tuesday’s game at Memphis,, and the Lakers have not released additional details. The team is trying to determine the extent of in the injury.
“We’ll monitor it the next couple days, see how it feels and go from there,” James told reporters after Sunday’s game.
James, 38, missed games earlier in the season and has played in 47 of Los Angeles’ 61 games. He has been a steady presence in the lineup since late November and is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists and shooting 50.1% from the field and 30.8% on 3-pointers.
On Feb. 7, James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, and at All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City on Feb. 19, James told reporters that the Lakers’ remaining games were the 23 most important regular-season games of his career.
“I hope I can figure out a way to just make sure I’m available for every single night for these 23 games, to give us a chance, give our group chance to be able to compete every night and give us a chance to win every night,” James said.
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At 29-32 and in 12th place in the Western Conference, the Lakers are trying to get into the playoffs. They are just a game behind 10th-place New Orleans for a spot in the play-in games and just 2½ games behind sixth-place Dallas for a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
If the Lakers miss the playoffs, it will be just the second time in James’ career that he has missed the playoffs. The last time? Go back nearly two decades to his first two seasons in the league in 2003-04 and 2004-05.
Before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, the Lakers acquired Rui Hachimura from Washington, D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota and Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt from Utah. Russell missed Sunday’s game with a right ankle sprain and is listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s game.
“I’ve always been confident in any club I’ve been on, once we got to the playoffs that we can compete with anyone,” James said in Salt Lake City.
Without James, the Lakers’ chances of making the postseason drop significantly.