LeBron James Won't Return to Lakers Until Swelling Is Gone After MRI On Knee Injury

Doric SamJanuary 30, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) is in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Sunday that LeBron James will not play until the swelling goes down in his knee, via Mike Trudell of Spectrum.

An MRI showed "general swelling" in the star's knee, which will be enough to keep him out for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Anthony Davis, who returned from injury last Tuesday, will play against the Hawks after missing Friday's loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

It will be the third straight missed game for James, although Vogel listed the forward as day-to-day and indicated he could still return for Wednesday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

The injury was previously described as knee soreness as James was ruled out of the Lakers' game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 27.

James had also missed time earlier this season with an abdominal strain. Los Angeles is 5-9 when he doesn't play, per StatMuse.

At 37 years old, James is in the midst of one of the best offensive seasons of his career. He's averaged 29.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 36 games. He is tied for second in the league in scoring behind only Kevin Durant. 

Throughout most of his career, James had a reputation of being one of the most durable players in the NBA. But he's had trouble staying healthy in recent seasons. He was limited to 45 games in 2020-21 because of various injuries.

The Lakers have been off to a disappointing start to the season with a record of 24-26. 

While James is out of the lineup, Los Angeles will look to point guard Russell Westbrook with veteran forward Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk among those likely to see increased minutes.

The Lakers need James to return sooner rather than later if they hope to keep pace in the playoff hunt in the competitive Western Conference.