At 2-9, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled mightily even with LeBron James on the floor this season. Now they have to face their first stretch without him. Lakers coach Darvin Ham said Thursday that James has a strained left adductor and is doubtful to play against the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
Unlike the groin injury James suffered in 2018, "there wasn't anything torn" this time, Ham told reporters, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. James will be listed as day-to-day on upcoming injury reports.
Los Angeles has a long stretch of off days coming up, so James could take more than a week off and only miss two games. After hosting the Kings, they will host the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, after which they will not play again until they host the Detroit Pistons next Friday.
James had an MRI after suffering the injury in the middle of one his better games of the season Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers. In the fourth quarter, he landed awkwardly after a shot attempt and immediately grabbed at his groin. He then left the game with what the team termed left leg soreness and did not return.
In 32 minutes against the Clippers, James had 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists. In the Lakers' previous game, a loss against the Utah Jazz, James was out with left foot soreness.
James missed significant time during the 2018-19 season due to a groin injury he sustained in the Christmas matchup against the Golden State Warriors. When asked how he felt after Wednesday's game he described it as an "injury," but also said that it was "not as bad" as what happened four years ago.
While James, 37, recovered to largely stay healthy during the 2019-20 championship season, he has been dealing with injuries ever since. In 2021, Atlanta Hawks forward Solomon Hill dove into his leg, which caused him to miss almost two months with a high ankle sprain. He wasn't the same when he returned, and the Lakers lost in the first round to the Phoenix Suns. Last season, he missed games due to a variety of injuries.