LeBron James is confident he will be ready to go come Christmas Day after picking up an ankle injury during the Los Angeles Lakers’ defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night of the new NBA season.
The now-four-time NBA champion scored a team-high 22 points as well as providing five rebounds and five assists before leaving the 116-109 loss with 7.51 left to play in the fourth quarter.
James appeared to sustain the problem when his ankle buckled while attempting to defend Clippers center Ivica Zubac in the paint. The Lakers are scheduled to face MVP favourite Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
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“I turned it pretty good, but I don’t think it’s going to stop me from playing on Friday,” he said. “So, have a couple days, you know how I am about treatment, so I’ll do that around the clock and I think I should be fine by then.”
“I’ll go home and have dinner right now. I’ll ice it, and I’ll drink some wine that will flow right to the ankle. I can make sure I can drink on the left side of my body so it just goes right down to my left leg, right down to my ankle.
“But I’ll be around the clock. I’ll wake up [Wednesday] morning before I leave the house, and also I’ll get some more treatment at the facility and just continue to do that. Like I said, we have a couple days, so I’ll be fine.”
Despite the defeat, there were encouraging signs for the Lakers in regards to their strength in depth as offseason arrival Dennis Schroder threatened a triple-double on his regular-season debut with 14 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
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Former Clipper and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell meanwhile had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three assists off the bench.
Nonetheless, the Lakers remain heavily reliant on another dominant year from the league’s most potent duo in Anthony Davis and James if they are to make it back-to-back championships, the latter having averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-high 10.2 assists per game last season.
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