LeBron James will miss his fourth straight game on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Portland Trail Blazers, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. James is dealing with irritation to his ailing left knee, and could reportedly miss a few more games after that as the team plays it cautious with its superstar.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said ahead of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks that James underwent an MRI, which revealed general swelling in the knee. Vogel said that James was getting treatment in Los Angeles and would remain out "as long as the swelling is there."
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James and the Lakers are taking a cautious approach during a season in which injuries have ravaged the team. Anthony Davis returned to the lineup last Tuesday after a lengthy absence, and James missed 12 games in October and November, most of them because of an abdominal strain.
When healthy, James been just about as dominant as ever. The 19-year veteran is averaging 29.1 points per game on his best efficiency as a Laker. His team is 24-27 (and rank 21st in point differential) due in large part to the injuries they've sustained, but James has more than done his part to keep the Lakers afloat.
Now they'll rely on Davis and Russell Westbrook to keep the team moving without its best player. Teams with sub-.500 records midway through the season can't afford to be without their leaders for sustained periods, so the Lakers will need James back in the fold as soon as possible.
After the Blazers game, the Lakers will visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, then host the New York Knicks on Saturday. Next week they will play the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday in Los Angeles then fly to Portland for a back-to-back.