LOS ANGELES (AP) – LeBron James injured his right ankle during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, leaving the court in visible frustration after trying to play despite the injury.
James left early in the second quarter, and the team later announced that he would not be returning. The Lakers did not say whether James will have an X-ray or an MRI.
The 17-time All-Star was injured when he rolled his right ankle and then made awkward contact on the perimeter with defender Solomon Hill, who was called for a foul on the play. James fell onto the court and screamed, rolling briefly in obvious pain.
But he got up shortly thereafter and walked away for a time out, tied his shoes again and returned to the court. The 36-year-old superstar stayed in the game and even hit a corner 3-pointer on subsequent Lakers possession.
James then called for another timeout moments later and retired from the game with 10:04 remaining in the first half. He hit a chair in frustration, knocking it down as he left the court behind the Lakers’ basket.
He immediately went to the locker room accompanied by the Lakers coaching staff and Anthony Davis, who has not played since Valentine’s Day with a right calf injury.
James is averaging 25.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists in the NBA’s 18th season for the defending champion Lakers, who are second overall in the NBA despite Davis’ long absence.
James ‘inspired play is the biggest reason for Los Angeles’ continued success, with his teammates and league watchers promoting him for his fifth NBA Most Valuable Player award. He was playing the final game of a spectacular singles week during the Lakers’ four-game winning streak, with consecutive triple-doubles before a 37-point performance against Charlotte on Thursday.
James’ 3-pointer gave him 10 points against the Hawks, extending his NBA-record streak of consecutive games scoring in double digits to 1,036. The streak is by far the longest in NBA history, with Michael Jordan second at 866.
In addition to his incredible talent, James has been remarkably enduring during his NBA career. He had never missed more than a handful of games in any season prior to his first year with the Lakers, when a groin injury left him out for 17 straight games.
James has missed just one game this season, missing the Lakers’ last game before traveling to Atlanta for the All-Star break.
The Lakers’ next game is Sunday in Phoenix.
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