The Lakers’ playoff aspirations took a major hit when LeBron James went down with a tendon injury in his right foot.
With less than five weeks remaining until the regular season comes to a close on April 9, Los Angeles still faces an uphill battle to earn a spot in the West’s Play-In Tournament. According to the team, James’ injury won’t be re-evaluated until around March 23 — and getting cleared to return following re-evaluation is another story.
Prior to James’ injury, the retooled Lakers showed real potential to shake things up in the postseason. It’s no secret that the team’s ceiling is dependent on having its 38-year-old superstar in the mix.
For more on the nature of James’ injury and his potential return to the floor, The Sporting News reached out to Dr. Michael S. George of the KSF Orthopaedic Center in Houston. He touched on the nature of foot tendon injuries and what can be taken from the information that has been provided from the team.
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Expert medical analysis on LeBron James’ foot injury and potential return
What is LeBron James’ injury?
“There are multiple tendons in the foot, and it’s not clear which tendon he injured. In general, in a professional athlete, if a tendon in the foot has a significant tear, then it would usually be treated with surgery.”
How serious is LeBron James’ foot tendon injury?
“Since they’re treating this non-operatively, it’s unlikely that there’s a significant tear. The most common injury to the tendons in the foot is tenosynovitis, which is inflammation of the tendon and the tendon lining.”
What can LeBron James do to return to play?
“In [the case of tenosynovitis], the treatment is rest and immobilization followed by a gradual return to activity. Just like tendon issues and other parts of the body such as the Achilles, hamstring or quadriceps tendons, return to activity has to be slow and deliberate.
“Otherwise, you risk re-injury and a prolonged recovery.”
How long will LeBron James be out?
“He’ll need to be completely pain-free in order to be able to push off of that foot and return to his explosive style of play.
“With the Lakers’ championship aspirations dimming, they’ll likely proceed with caution and hold him out for as long as needed until he can return back to normal, which could end up being the rest of the season.”