LeBron James Out for Lakers vs. Rockets with Groin Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game at Chase Center on February 08, 2020 in San Francisco, California. 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. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will miss Thursday's game against the Houston Rockets due to a sore right groin, according to Spectrum SportsNet's Mike Trudell

Prior to the interruption of the 2019-20 NBA season, the 35-year-old was building a strong case for his fifth MVP. He was averaging 25.7 points, a league-best 10.6 assists, and 7.9 rebounds. The Lakers were also sitting first in the Western Conference at 49-14, 5.5 games up on the second-place Los Angeles Clippers.

With the coronavirus pandemic putting sports on hiatus for months, few NBA teams were more adversely affected than the Lakers.

Los Angeles was firing on all cylinders prior to the stoppage, and carrying that momentum over to the restart was all but impossible. The team had only have eight games to rebuild its on-court chemistry before the start of the playoffs.

Under normal circumstances, losing James to injury would be a massive blow. Now, it's even more difficult to gauge how L.A. will operate without its best player.

Granted, the Lakers already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, so they can afford to be proactive with James when it comes to his health.

Los Angeles still has Anthony Davis and a solid supporting cast, but no player is more integral to its championship hopes than LeBron.