LeBron James: 'I'll Be Fine' After Tweaking Ankle Injury in Lakers' Win vs. NO

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James dribbles during an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers had a brief scare late in Sunday night's 110-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans when LeBron James was slow to get up after falling to the ground while appearing to tweak his right ankle. However, the superstar forward appears to be fine.

"It was a tweak," James told reporters. "I stepped on Alexander's foot after that last layup, but I'll be fine."

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

"I'll be fine." @KingJames with @LakersReporter on tweaking his ankle in tonight's game, how he's feeling since returning for the #LakeShow, and the challenge that awaits the team in Steph Curry & the Warriors. https://t.co/y6txnY9IJN

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had previously said James is "good to go" and that there should be "no issues" moving forward.

James left the game midway through the fourth after being shaken up following a contested layup:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LeBron leaves the game after rolling his ankle https://t.co/zV1NfdagOx

He did not return to the game.

The Lakers are locked into the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference following Sunday's action, putting them in a play-in game against the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. 

James was trending toward his fifth NBA MVP Award before suffering a high-ankle sprain March 20 that limited him to only a handful of appearances for the rest of the regular season. It was part of an injury-plagued campaign for the Lakers, who were also without Anthony Davis for an extended stretch.

Injuries have been an increasing concern since the 36-year-old James, a 17-time All-Star, joined the Lakers in 2018, including a groin injury that prematurely ended his debut year with the franchise.

The Ohio native is still one of the NBA's best players when healthy, though. He led L.A. to the 2020 NBA title and this, season, averaged 25.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists in 44 appearances (entering Sunday).

James' availability is the single biggest factor in the Lakers' chances of making a resurgent bid toward a championship repeat in the coming weeks.