Lakers News: LeBron James Ruled out vs. Giannis, Bucks with Groin Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 19, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, March 17, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James will not play in Tuesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a sore left groin, according to the Los Angeles TimesTania Ganguli.

James has averaged 27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists in his 16th NBA season. His 26.0 PER ranks 14th among all qualified players, per Basketball Reference.

Those numbers prove the four-time NBA MVP's dominance during the back nine of his career, but James is also looking at his first season outside the playoffs since 2004-05.

Injuries have taken a toll on the Lakers' best players, including James. Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball suffered season-ending injuries, and Kyle Kuzma has been bothered by ankle injuries.

James sat for 17 games with a groin strain suffered against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, a time that highlighted the highs and frustrations of Los Angeles' season.

The Lakers beat the defending NBA champions 127-101 on the road that evening and showed what they're capable of doing on any given night, but injuries have prevented the team from reaching its full potential.

James isn't used to being out for long stretches. He's been sidelined the occasional game for rest or been out for a few matchups with assorted injuries, but the three-time NBA champion never sat more than seven games in a season during his first 11 NBA campaigns. He played a career-low 69 games in 2014-15, but this year will set a new mark for games missed.

Still, the King's durability and endurance have been remarkable, and the same goes for his ability to play at a high level despite the mileage he's accumulated during 16 regular seasons and 13 postseasons.

The Lakers will have trouble replacing his production, but expect Kyle Kuzma to assume the role of primary scorer. He's averaging 18.6 points on 46.4 percent shooting this season.

Mike Muscala is a candidate to enter the starting lineup for James, which he did when the 34-year-old sat for rest last Friday against the Detroit Pistons

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