But against the New York Knicks, the 36-year-old star rested on another day and marked five missed games after sustaining the injury to his right ankle that has now kept him from it for more than a third of the season Has.
While media reports initially surfaced that James could return against New York on Tuesday night, coach Frank Vogel said he learned that morning that James could not play. He was a full participant in Monday’s training.
« He got it all right, but again, all you want to do is measure the response to the workload and make a decision about whether it’s wise to be the next night, » Vogel said. « He will be doing more rehab work again today and we will evaluate the response to that work tomorrow. »
James was sitting on the sidelines, wearing a teal sweatshirt and shorts. The Lakers hope to have the one-time MVP candidate back in uniform on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. This is also the night the team unveils its 2020 championship banner for the final home game of the regular season.
There was curiosity from James who refused to come back against the fourth-placed team in the Eastern Conference, as well as the fourth-placed defense in the NBA. The missiles are in last place in the overall standings and only 27th in defense. But Vogel said this was not taken into account in James’ decision.
« The opponent doesn’t take into account when LeBron comes back, » said Vogel. « He’ll come back when it’s safe and when it makes sense, regardless of the opponent. »
While Kyle Kuzma returned to the line-up with a back problem after missing a game against Phoenix on Sunday, the Lakers received more discouraging injury news when security guard Alex Caruso was forced to leave the game with a pain in his right foot, which has bothered him since losing to the Clippers last Thursday.
Vogel also claimed that the earliest Dennis Schröder could return to the field on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers, but the Lakers aren’t sure when their starting point guard will be ready to play again under the COVID-19 protocols .
In addition to a 24-hour turnaround for the home game on Wednesday, the Lakers also end the season with one street in a row on Saturday and Sunday. Vogel said he wasn’t sure how this would affect his top players’ minutes.
It’s NBA awards season and votes for awards and recognitions will be cast on Monday. And Vogel believes senior defense in the NBA deserves a few awards.
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Two days after Vogel asked Caruso for consideration, he added security guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the list. The two have served as the Lakers’ main defenders for most of the season, and each player has an average of one theft per game.
While they have different cases, Vogel suggested that the seasonal hustle and bustle and eclectic versatility should be the mainstay of their candidacy.
« These two guys do everything, » said Vogel. « You’re great with containment. You can defend one on one, great with distractions and thefts. Competing with the great. Negotiating through screens and reconnecting with your husband. The persecution aspect. All of these things aren’t really measured by numbers. »
Neither player has formed an all-defense team in their NBA career. Laker’s great man Anthony Davis made the NBA’s all-defense roster last season.
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