LeBron James will not play in the Los Angeles Lakers' primetime showdown with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. Luke Walton told reporters prior to the game that LeBron "woke up pretty sore," and will be held out for load management.
Luke Walton says LeBron James “woke up pretty sore” after playing 40 minutes in his return to the court vs LAC. He is being held out tonight vs GSW, per the Lakers, for “load management.”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 3, 2019
After missing 17 straight games due to a groin strain he suffered, coincidentally, against the Warriors during their Christmas Day matchup, LeBron made a surprise return on Thursday night. He played 40 minutes, putting up 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in the Lakers' overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
This is a tough break for the Lakers, as they needed LeBron for this big matchup with the Warriors, but it's ultimately not all that surprising. He missed over a month of action and jumped right back into the deep end by playing 40 minutes on Thursday night. This primetime, national TV contest on the road against the Warriors could have been a playoff-type atmosphere, and that would have only added more stress to LeBron's body.
As big as this game is, it's still only one game, and the Lakers need LeBron for the remainder of the season. It's not worth risking the possibility of him re-aggravating his injury in a game that would be tough to win anyway.