LeBron James Out for Lakers' Game vs. Kings for Treatment on Ankle Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) dribble the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will not play Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, marking his first missed game of the season.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, a team spokesperson said James did not accompany the Lakers on their flight to Sacramento after a 114-104 home loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. LeBron will sit because of a left ankle sprain, which he will receive treatment on.

Per The Athletic (h/t McMenamin), LeBron still intends to participate in the NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta this weekend.

After missing 27 games in 2018-19, James displayed his usual versatility last season. The 17-time All-Star appeared in all but four of the Lakers' 71 games.

James averaged 25.3 points and 7.8 rebounds while leading the league in assists (10.2), all of which were good enough to make him the runner-up in the MVP voting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. He nearly averaged a triple-double (27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists) in the playoffs as the Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

With the quick turnaround between seasons and the condensed schedule, the Lakers seemed likely to more carefully manage James' minutes than they did a year ago, but he hadn't missed a game until now and is averaging 34.6 minutes per game, which is the same as last season.

This season, James is putting up 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists per contest, putting him firmly in the MVP conversation once again.

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Los Angeles may have the depth to survive without the four-time MVP for a game or two at a time. Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol joined a roster that already included James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, they will be with Davis on Wednesday, too, as he continues to recover from calf and Achilles injuries.

That means the bulk of the scoring burden will be placed on Schroder's shoulders with the likes of Harrell, Kuzma and Co. also being asked to help out.