7:08pm: James has issued a tweet about the injury, vowing to return as soon as he can. “Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates! I’m hurt inside and out right now,” he wrote. “The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left.”
6:29pm: James’ injury is a high ankle sprain, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He will be out indefinitely, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter). The Lakers have confirmed the injury, according to Mark Medina of USA Today (Twitter link).
The severity of the sprain will determine how much time James will miss, notes Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link). He could return within about two weeks if it’s a Grade 1 sprain, but a Grade 3 sprain could keep him out for six weeks, which is near the beginning of the playoffs.
5:38pm: X-rays were negative for Lakers star LeBron James, who left today’s game after hurting his right ankle, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The team is still awaiting MRI results to determine the extent of the injury, Woj adds.
James was pulled from the game in the second quarter after a collision with the Hawks’ Solomon Hill and limped to the sidelines, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). He re-laced his shoes and briefly returned, but had to check out again and threw a chair in frustration as he headed to the locker room (Twitter link).
Some of the Lakers were angry about what happened, claiming that Hill was out of line when he dove onto the floor and through James’ legs on a steal attempt, tweets Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register.
“We don’t feel like it was one of those basketball-type plays,” said Montrezl Harrell. “… He had to go through his leg to get the ball.”
Harrell added that he doesn’t think Hill was trying to hurt James, but said the league should review what happened. Dennis Schröder called it an “unnecessary play,” tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
Hill responded to the criticism on social media, tweeting, “Would never disrespect the game and take a player out purposely… he knows that. that’s all that matters to me. praying for a speedy recovery.”