On Sunday, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James missed his fourth consecutive game this season. In the Lakers’ 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 9, the 18-time All-Star sustained a left groin strain.
James has not played since then. “It’s difficult. But it’s a process that we understand, and we just have to take our time because we don’t want this to be a lingering issue,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said on James’ health.
According to some NBA betting sites, the Lakers have the 20th-best odds to win the championship in 2023. A few sportsbooks are giving the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings better odds in the Western Conference.
Darvin Ham talks about Anthony Davis leading the small lineup and LeBron James’ injury status.
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— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 21, 2022
Are the Lakers better without LeBron? Since the 20-year veteran’s injury, the Lakers have gone 3-1. In the team’s 123-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Anthony Davis scored a team-high 30 points.
“I mean, it is great,” Ham said. “I’d be lying to myself and everybody if I said it didn’t feel good.” It was one of Los Angeles’ best offensive outings this season.
Besides Davis, six other Lakers scored in double figures: Kendrick Nunn (13), Austin Reaves (21), Dennis Schroder (13), Thomas Bryant (15), Russell Westbrook (10), and Lonnie Walker IV (14).
Lakers coach Darvin Ham is confident LeBron James will be cleared to play in the coming days
Also, it was the first time L.A. held its opponent to less than 95 points this season. However, maybe the Lakers are still better off with LeBron James. Through 10 starts this season, James is averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.1 steals.
“He’s staying in rhythm, but again, what you do in a 1-on-0 workout or 5-on-0 workout is a lot different than going in a game where you’re bumping bodies, changing speeds, changing direction,” added Ham on James’ recovery process.
LeBron James (left groin strain) is out tonight, missing his fourth straight game. Darvin Ham on being cautious with the 20-year veteran: “It’s difficult. But it’s a process that we understand and we just have to take our time because we don’t want this to be a lingering issue”
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 21, 2022
“That’s not predictable and not as controlled as an individual workout,” continued Ham. “So again, there’s no need to be in a hurry with him. He’s gonna definitely play a big bulk of games this season.
It’s November, so we have time on our side. We had that long break last week, seeing some opponents and getting healthy guys back in Thomas and Dennis allows us to really take our time with him. So, we just want to be as cautious as possible so again, it doesn’t turn into something he’s constantly dealing with throughout the season.”
Of course, LeBron is not the only injured player on the Lakers. Both Max Christie and Westbrook are now listed as day-to-day. Westbrook had his right thumb evaluated following Los Angeles’ win over the Spurs on Sunday.
Fortunately, the X-rays on Westbrook’s thumb came back negative.
As for LeBron James, it is unknown whether the four-time MVP will play in Tuesday night’s road matchup against the Phoenix Suns. This game will air live on TNT at 10 p.m. ET.