Lakers' LeBron James Says He's Getting 'A Lot Healthier' After Ab, Groin Injuries

Erin WalshDecember 11, 2021

TENNESSEE, TN - DECEMBER 9: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 9, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.  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 Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James says he's feeling much better after suffering abdominal and groin injuries earlier this season, and the rest of the NBA should take note. 

“I’m starting to get a lot healthier as the season goes on, especially with my low ab and my groin," James told Lakers reporter Mike Trudell after a 116-95 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. "That’s been feeling a lot better as of the last couple weeks."

James has struggled with groin issues since playing with a partially torn groin during the 2018-19 campaign, his first year with the Lakers. He was limited to 55 games that season but still averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists that year en route to what was then his 15th consecutive All-Star selection. 

This season, James missed eight games from Nov. 4 through Nov. 17 after aggravating an abdominal strain. However, it's important to note that Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters that James' abdominal injury is unrelated to the groin tear that caused him to miss time during the 2018-19 season. 

Friday's game against Oklahoma City was one of James' best since returning from the abdominal injury. He finished with 33 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks in 35 minutes. His 33 points tie the second-highest mark he's reached since returning to action on Nov. 19, as he scored 39 points against the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 24.

The Lakers are 5-4 in the nine games James has appeared in since returning from his ailment. They went 3-5 in his eight-game absence.

Despite dealing with several ailments this year, James still is playing at a high level. He entered Friday's game against the Thunder averaging 25.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep. 

With James back on board, the Lakers have won six of their last 10 games. They improved to 14-13 with Friday's win, good for sixth place in the Western Conference. 

Considering James is already performing at a high level, the Lakers should only continue to improve as he gets healthier.