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Lakers' LeBron James Talks Workload, Says He Feels 'Worse' When Playing Fewer Minutes

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 19, 2021

AP Photo/Randall Benton

LeBron James turns 37 years old in December and is entering his 19th campaign in the NBA. Logic would suggest limiting his minutes during the regular season to keep him fresher and healthy for the playoffs might be the best course.

He disagrees.

"I don't play the game thinking about injuries," the Los Angeles Lakers star said Monday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. "And I also feel worse when I play low minutes."

The comments follow what unfolded last season, as James played a career-low 33.4 minutes per game and missed 26 contests because of a high ankle sprain.

"It took a while," the four-time champion said when discussing the recovery process this offseason. "I didn't do much basketball stuff for probably the first two months of the summer, which is very rare for me, because my ankle wasn't responding how I would like it to respond."

McMenamin noted Lakers head coach Frank Vogel plans to play the King 34 to 36 minutes per game this season. Vogel also said the Lakers likely won't play him in all 82 games before the playoffs but do not have a set plan to rest him a certain amount of nights.

Age and health will be major storylines for the Purple and Gold even outside of James this season.

Carmelo Anthony (37), Russell Westbrook (32), Dwight Howard (35), Rajon Rondo (35), Trevor Ariza (36), DeAndre Jordan (33) and Wayne Ellington (33) are all north of 30 years old with plenty of minutes on their legs.

There is no doubting the overall talent, especially when throwing 28-year-old Anthony Davis into the mix, but how Los Angeles responds to the long regular season and the grueling playoff minutes in the daunting Western Conference will likely determine its championship fate.

To hear James tell it, he doesn't want his minutes limited as he chases a fifth ring.       

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