Lakers’ LeBron James exits game with left leg soreness

Tyron Lue has the championship ring to prove it.

“My statement was,” Lue said, “’We have LeBron James; We always have a chance to win.’ ”

But what if you don’t have it?

The Lakers, already losing with James on the court, could have even more problems with him. James was eliminated midway through the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game when he grabbed the inside of his left thigh.

The team ended up naming the injury “left leg soreness.”

James sat out 17 games after straining his left groin in his first season with the Lakers and later saying it was partially torn.

James said Wednesday the injury doesn’t feel as bad as it did in 2018. He said he will have imaging on Thursday.

“I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary with the play,” he said. “Just as I landed, I felt a little cramp or tension in my groin.”

James said he plans to receive round-the-clock treatment and if things work out, he hopes to be on the court when the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

Before James was injured, he had 30 points and gained an offensive rhythm for the first time since the start of the season, hitting four of nine three-pointers. But after coming on Paul George and committing a foul with just six minutes remaining, James winced in pain and began to grab the inside of his leg. The next time the game was stopped, he hobbled off the field and straight into the tunnel.

The Lakers fell to 2-9, losing to the Clippers 114-101 at Arena.

“It’s just a lot of adversity,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham, ”

It’s the latest early-season problem for the Lakers and Ham, who have already seen two players undergo the same thumb surgery, a stomach virus ripped through the dressing room and their two biggest stars sustained persistent injuries.

Anthony Davis has struggled with back pain since preseason and earned him a permanent spot on the team’s injury report earlier this season. In the first half of Wednesday, he seemed to make the problem worse, grabbing his back after one game.

James was also a regular on the team’s injury report due to pain in his left foot and as a result sat out the team’s game in Utah on Monday. Ahead of Wednesday’s game, James said the injury would only heal if he wasn’t playing.

“Rest is the only way to help him that I don’t have. So I’m going to play it day after day,” James said ahead of the game. “I’ll be in the lineup tonight.”

But Friday? Who knows?

“I still have to try to find ways to get wins whether he’s in the lineup or not,” Davis said.

Ham said he encouraged James to take his time and ensure his recovery is full.

“‘Do what you have to do, take care of your body and just listen. Do what you always did,’” Ham said as he told James. “He’s a pro, at the top of the food chain in so many areas, and one of those areas is that he’s really proactive in responding to how his body is physically presenting himself to play at the level he’s playing at. Again, I think I mentioned that he’s the last guy I’m worried about in terms of taking care of his body, eating right, rest, exercise and all that. He’s a five-star general in this department, among many others.” Lakers’ LeBron James exits game with left leg soreness

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