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LeBron James out for Lakers vs. Thunder with Abdominal Injury; Out 'at Least' 1 Week

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 4, 2021

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is out for Thursday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with an abdominal strain.

After James was ruled out, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the star will miss "at least" one week with the injury, noting the Lakers want to be "cautious."

The four-time MVP experienced some soreness in his right ankle early into the 2021-22 campaign, which has forced him to miss some time. Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters the team would be "taking a marathon approach" toward the situation.

The need for caution was probably heightened by the fact that James battled a high ankle sprain for much of the second half last year.

For obvious reasons, the Lakers are keeping an eye on the playoffs because there's unlikely to be a path to a title if James is injured or performing at less than 100 percent. Managing his workload will be a season-long pursuit.

But any time the 36-year-old is out of action will prolong the process of meshing a roster that underwent a major offseason overhaul.

Falling into the play-in tournament in 2020-21 was also an example of how dropping what might be considered meaningless regular-season games in the first half can prove costly in the long run.

While the Lakers shouldn't be panicking over James' status, his absence does make life more difficult for them.

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