Lakers' LeBron James Day-to-Day with Ankle Injury; Vogel Says Situation 'Not Ideal'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 5, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 2: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Toronto Raptors on May 2, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will miss Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers and be considered day-to-day beyond that, according to head coach Frank Vogel.

Vogel told reporters it's "not an ideal situation" but that the team is "just going to make the best of it."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported James was expected to miss Los Angeles' next two games because of an ankle issue.

The 17-time All-Star suffered a high ankle sprain in a 99-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on March 20.

James then missed the Lakers' next 20 games, returning on April 30 in a 110-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings. However, he was limited to 28 minutes on the floor in L.A.'s next outing before exiting with a sore right ankle.

Thanks in large part to James' absence and a prolonged spell without Anthony Davis, Vogel's squad is sixth in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers. The threat of falling into the play-in tournament is very real, and one of the last things the Lakers need is to play more games in pursuit of a championship repeat.

Few players have demonstrated a stronger ability to raise their games in the postseason than James. Particularly during his second run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his teams looked totally different during the most important phase of the season.

The persistent ankle trouble is raising obvious questions about how the 36-year-old will look in the postseason, though. In addition, the Lakers are facing a difficult road to the NBA Finals even if they avoid the play-in.

Should James once again find another level in the playoffs, it may not be enough for the ailing Lakers.