Latest LeBron James Injury Update is Bad News for Lakers' Playoff Hopes

The Los Angeles Lakers received concerning LeBron James news ahead of the final stretch of the regular season.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers got back on track last week and won three straight but they can't seem to get out of the play-in picture in the Western Conference. They are still in ninth place with a 39-32 record and just got a concerning injury update about LeBron James.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the 39-year-old superstar will sit out Tuesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Lakers News: LeBron James Out With an Ankle Injury

James has been dealing with an ankle issue for months. He has been nursing it throughout the season, resting at times, and sitting out one leg of back-to-backs. Considering that the Lakers have another game tomorrow night against the Grizzlies in Memphis, this could be seen as a precaution by the Lakers organization.

Preferring to play against the Grizzlies, a more beatable opponent than the Bucks in Milwaukee is certainly understandable. The real issue, however, is the fact that James' ankle is still not feeling right and the Lakers' willingness to punt games at this stage of the season.

This shows that the Lakers don't believe that they can go higher in the standings with only 11 games left in the regular season. They are 2.5 games behind the eight-seeded Phoenix Suns and three games behind the sixth-seeded Sacramento Kings. That is a lot of ground to make up in such a short period of time.

The real concern for the Lakers, however, is the teams chasing them. The Houston Rockers are the hottest team in the league and have won nine straight to close the gap between them and the play-in. The Golden State Warriors are only 2.5 games behind the Lakers.

If Los Angeles loses a few extra games and the Rockets continue their ascent, the Lakers could be in trouble. Falling to tenth place would make it very difficult to make the playoffs as you have to win two single elimination games on the road against good teams.

Lakers fans have to hope that James can return soon without being too affected by the injury. Otherwise, it will be an anticlimactic end to an already underwhelming regular season.

Los Angeles is currently a long shot (+2800) to win the Western Conference. If you think they can climb this mountain, then head over to FanDuel Sportsbook, claim your sign-up offer of $200 in bonus bets, and back the Lakers.

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