Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James says he and the team will "monitor" his right foot over the next few days after a disconcerting moment in the team's win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday in which on-court cameras caught him saying "I heard it pop" in regards to his foot.
Late in the third quarter of the Lakers' stunning victory, in which they overcame a 27-point deficit for the largest comeback in the league this season, James made what appeared to be a normal drive to the basket against Dwight Powell. However, when he fell to the ground after being fouled, he immediately clutched at his foot, and stayed down for a brief period in what appeared to be real pain. That is when the cameras caught him saying "I heard it pop."
🚨#Lakers superstar LeBron James said he heard his right ankle "pop" after this play late in the 3rd quarter vs. the #Mavs.— Sports Injury Central (@SICscore) February 27, 2023
LeBron remained in the game but did have a noticeable limp post-game. We will monitor this at https://t.co/SANDkdLNP0 pic.twitter.com/bjIW9aWQIb
Somehow, James was able to stay in the game and helped the Lakers secure a third consecutive win in dramatic fashion, though along the way he did receive treatment on the bench. He finished the game with 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
"It's been better," James said about his foot during his postgame press conference. "That's for sure. But I definitely wasn't going to go to the locker room and not finish the game out tonight. Just understood the importance of the game, and then with the momentum that we had, I felt like we could still win after being down."
James appeared to be limping as he walked out of the arena on Sunday evening, but Lakers head coach Darvin Ham downplayed the severity of the situation.
LeBron limps out of AAC — with a 27-point comeback win. pic.twitter.com/7jbcN5JgUG— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 27, 2023
"He's good," Ham said. "Our medical people are looking at him now. He'll be reevaluated again in the morning. So once we get some type of official word tomorrow, we'll go from there. But as of right now, he's good."
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James has dealt with various injuries this season and has been limited to 47 games. Heading into the All-Star break, the latest issue was a troublesome left ankle and foot, which had kept him out of three straight games from Feb. 9-13. However, scans showed no serious damage, and he said following the All-Star Game that he would try to be available for every single game down the stretch in order to help the Lakers get back into playoff position.
Following their big win over the Mavs, the Lakers are now 29-32 on the season, and sit in 12th place in the Western Conference. However, they are only one game out of 10th place and 2.5 games out of sixth. At the very least, they should be able to get into the play-in tournament as long as James can stay on the floor.