Rob Issa, FISM News
The Los Angeles Lakers will have to make a playoff push without LeBron James.
The NBA’s all-time scoring leader has an injured tendon in his right foot that is expected to keep him out of the lineup for most of March. The Lakers said Thursday that James will be evaluated again in approximately three weeks.
“In the short term, we’ll all have to pull in the same direction,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.
James suffered the injury in a win at Dallas on Sunday. The current timetable means he’d miss at least 10 of the Lakers’ final 19 games.
The Lakers are 30-33 and in 11th place in the Western Conference standings. They’re one game behind a spot in the play-in round. They’re also just 2 1/2 games out of sixth place in the jumbled West.
Without James, the road ahead is tough for the Lakers. They do have the benefit of a softer schedule with only seven of their final 19 games against teams that currently have winning records. Also, the Lakers play their next five games at home, starting Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 38-year-old James leads the Lakers in scoring at 29.5 points per game. The Lakers are 6-10 without him this season. He’s only missed 10 consecutive games twice previously in his 20-year NBA career. Both of those stints on the sideline came after he joined the Lakers.
The four-time NBA champion has played nearly 65,000 minutes in 1,679 career games.
The Lakers also won’t have point guard D’Angelo Russell against the Timberwolves because of his sprained right ankle.