The Los Angeles Lakers won't have their best player as they fight to stay out of the play-in tournament. LeBron James will reportedly miss at least two more games to rest his injured right ankle, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
James, 36, returned to action Friday after missing 20 games due to the injury. James played in Friday's game against the Sacramento Kings, where he dropped 16 points in nearly 32 minutes. James also played in the team's next game, which took place Sunday. James scored 19 points over 27 minutes. The Lakers lost both contests.
Following that game, it was announced that James would sit out Monday's contest against the Denver Nuggets to rest his ankle. That rest will now extend through Friday. After that, the team will take on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, May 9. It's unclear whether James will return for that game.
Lakers trying to avoid play-in tournament
The news comes as the Lakers are trying to stay out of the play-in tournament. The team currently sits in the fifth seed in the Western Conference, but the Lakers are only a game out of the seventh seed. If the Lakers fall to the seventh spot — or lower — the team would have to take part in the play-in tournament.
James would not be happy about that. He railed against the play-in tournament Monday, saying, "Whoever came up with that s*** needs to be fired." James, however, did speak positively about the play-in tournament last March. He likely feels differently now that the Lakers could be subject to the tournament.
The Lakers only have seven games left in the regular season. James will play in five of those games at most depending on his ankle. The Lakers would probably prefer James get the rest he needs to be ready for the playoffs, but that might not be a luxury the team can afford if the Lakers continue to struggle.
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