James exited the Lakers’ 99-94 reduction to the Atlanta Hawks at the first half once Solomon Hill collided with his ankle. James knocked over a seat in frustration on his way to the locker room, and received X-rays and an MRI on the ankle after the match, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers called timeout to check on the 18-year veteran, with several teammates, coaches and members of the medical staff trekking across the courtroom to encircle James while he was on the ground.
“I haven’t necessarily seen him scream and scowl like this likely ever,” teammate Kyle Kuzma said.
Several of James’ teammates took exception with Hill’s participation in the drama.
“A guy dove for a loose ball, took out his leg from up under him,” Montrezl Harrell explained. “I truly don’t feel as though it was among those loose-ball plays. He needed to undergo his leg to get the ball, guy. He had been turned sideways. The ball was supporting him. I mean, you’re jumping at an angle, going across this way, I mean, I do not know how you feel that is a loose ball”
Dennis Schroder concurred.
“That is an unnecessary drama to dip from the leg such as that,” he said.
After the game, Hill tweeted that a note to critics, that have believed the move was deliberate.
James, 36, managed to stand on his own and limped back to the seat at which he laced his sneakers and stayed in the game after the timeout.
On the Lakers’ first ownership from this timeout, James hit a 3 in the corner, lifting his stat line to ten points on 3-for-6 shooting, maintaining his streak complete of 1,036 straight games — such as Saturday — scoring 10 points or more.
The Lakers called another timeout shortly thereafter and James checked out of this game for good with 10:04 remaining in the second quarter, together with his team trailing 34-30.
Soon after, the Lakers made the announcement he would not return.
“I won’t disclose exactly what any mood of LeBron was similar to internally,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “It is in-house.”
Kuzma reported that the group didn’t see James following the game and the four-time winner did not speak to reporters. He did, however, write a positive post on Twitter.
The Lakers’ second game is on Sunday on the next leg of a back-to-back on the road against the Phoenix Suns. James failed fly with the group for the game, according to a team spokesperson.
Some players expressed optimism about James’ recovery prospects following the match.
“He is bounced back and he will in a few days,” Schroder said. “So, I am not worried.”
Said Harrell:”This man is a pro, man. I don’t think that it’s going to set him back too much, but he’s human, man.”
L.A. lost the game James missed for remainder, 123-120 into the Sacramento Kings, before the All-Star break.
The defending champions were already undermanned to begin with, missing an All-Star in Davis the previous 14 games due to a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg playing without starting center Marc Gasol the previous seven matches while he was in the league’s health and security protocols.
“We’ve got enough offensive firepower and we’ve got a defensive mindset with our group to me, we’ve enough to win,” Vogel said.