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Lakers' LeBron James Will Play vs. Trail Blazers Despite Groin Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 29, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) reacts during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 111-106. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward LeBron James will suit up against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday despite a groin injury that has bothered him over the past week. 

Lakers.com's Mike Trudell relayed the official word on James, who missed a Dec. 22 game against the Denver Nuggets with the ailment. He returned on Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Clippers but reaggravated the injury, which is being called a thoracic muscle strain.

Per ESPN's Rachel Nichols, James told reporters that the reaggravation occurred when Clips point guard Patrick Beverley kneed him in the groin during the Christmas Day contest, noting that it "sent me back to where I was five days ago."

James also suffered a strained left groin in December last year during a Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors. That injury kept him out for 17 straight games.

James has largely enjoyed an injury-free NBA career, or at least avoided enough ailments to sideline him for extended stretches. He missed no more than eight games in 14 of his first 15 NBA seasons and played every game this year until the Dec. 22 contest against Denver.

The four-time NBA MVP is enjoying an excellent 17th campaign, averaging 25.7 points, a league-leading 10.6 assists and 7.6 rebounds per game for the 24-7 Lakers.

L.A. leads the Western Conference by two games over the second-place Denver Nuggets.

A sub-100-percent James will still help a Lakers team that may be in for a tough challenge against the Blazers, who have gone 9-6 in their last 15 games after a 5-12 start.

Portland holds the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoff picture, and a Lakers-Blazers first-round postseason matchup isn't out of the realm of possibility.

The matchup is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET in Portland's Moda Center.