Lakers Injury News: LeBron James eliminated against Nuggets with sprained ankle

Despite returning to the court on Friday alongside Anthony Davis, LeBron James will not play Sunday’s game for the Lakers against the Nuggets. The sprained ankle that initially sidelined him a pair of games last week will also keep him sidelined against Denver, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported.

Before the match, head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that James would be out with only around 36 hours between Friday and Sunday’s games.

“I had ankle pain the other night,” Vogel said. “It’s basically like a back-to-back with an early start and won’t be able to go today.”

Even with James and Davis, the Lakers fell to the Pelicans on Friday, a loss with significant consequences for their play-in hopes. After the game, James spoke about his ankle and expressed some pessimism about his ability to be ready for Sunday afternoon’s game, a quicker-than-usual turnaround.

“For me personally, it’s just to start working on that ankle, obviously,” James said. “It’s quite painful right now…I hope it reacts the right way for me in the morning when I wake up and I don’t have any setbacks, so for me that’s the most important.”

James has nursed several injuries to the finish line this season, the sprained ankle being the most recent of them. Persistent pain in his left knee has also caused him to miss games.

The underlying aspect through it all is the play play the Lakers have seen slipping away from them over the past month. Heading into Sunday’s game, the Lakers were one game away from the 10th seed with five games remaining. The Spurs, who are ahead of the Lakers, face the Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

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