Lakers' LeBron James out Indefinitely After Ankle Injury Diagnosed as Sprain

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) brings the ball up court in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James suffered a high ankle sprain Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks and will be out indefinitely, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

James suffered a right ankle injury during the second quarter of Saturday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. While he initially stayed in the game after limping to the bench, James pulled himself one possession later and was visibly frustrated as he left the floor. 

Despite some reservations about the short layoff following the team's run to the NBA championship last season, James has been an iron man for the Lakers so far in 2020-21. The four-time MVP started the first 36 games and averaged 36.4 minutes per game from Feb. 1-March 2. 

James did sit out the Lakers' final game of the first half on March 3 against the Sacramento Kings with a sprained left ankle.

The Lakers have needed James because they've already had to navigate this season without their second-best player for an extended period. Anthony Davis' strained calf is the biggest problem for Los Angeles. The eight-time All-Star has missed 18 games thus far, leaving a massive hole on both ends of the court. 

James continues to play at a high level, averaging 25.8 points on 51.3 percent shooting with 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game. 

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Los Angeles' roster is dependent on James and Davis playing at their usual level to be successful. Head coach Frank Vogel has more depth to utilize this season than he did in 2019-20, but that group only works if those two All-Stars are on the court. 

Talen Horton-Tucker should see more playing time until James is able to return.