According to Wojnarowski, James is expected to miss Thursday’s game vs. the Clippers and Friday’s vs. Portland as he rests his troublesome ankle. LeBron, who also sat out Monday’s contest vs. Denver, missed 20 games due to a right high ankle sprain and had only been back for two games when he reaggravated the injury.
As Woj notes, the expectation is that the 36-year-old will proceed cautiously with his ankle, focusing on getting healthy for the postseason. James had suggested on Sunday night that he was prioritizing the playoffs over fighting for regular season seeding.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day (where the Lakers land in the standings) if I’m not 100% or close to 100%,” James said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
While LeBron’s stance makes sense, his ongoing absence will put the team at greater risk of losing its grip on a top-six seed in the West — a seventh-place finish would mean having to participate in at least one play-in game to secure a postseason spot. As we noted earlier today, Friday’s game in Portland is particularly important, since the Lakers and Blazers are neck-and-neck in the standings and Friday’s winner will gain a tiebreaker advantage.