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Lakers’ LeBron James could miss 4-to-8 weeks with abdominal strain

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James hasn’t remained on the court for a good period of time in the early stages of the 2021-22 NBA season.

He first had an injury scare against the Memphis Grizzlies in the third game of the regular season. An opponent landed on his ankle after falling to the floor, causing James’ ankle to be sore; he missed a few games but returned and guided L.A. to wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets twice.

Then, in his third game back, James had what was ruled as a rectus abdominal strain, and he’s still out with it right now. The team announced he’d miss about a week, but that might not be the case.

In an article by Bill Oram of The Athletic, Oram talked to Tim DiFrancesco, Lakers’ former head strength and conditioning coach, about the timetable. DiFrancesco said it could rule James out for four-to-eight weeks, even if it’s a minor strain:

“Especially the way he plays, it’s tough for me to see him getting back under four weeks,” said DiFrancesco, who worked for the Lakers from 2011-17. “Then again, he’s a different dude, so I wouldn’t put anything past him. … These are such delicate injuries that can respond to rest with pain relief quickly, but they are highly susceptible to re-injury if returned too quickly.”

If James is out that long, that could seriously dampen Los Angeles’ playoff and title aspirations. The Lakers have struggled without LeBron against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the youngest team in the league, and were routed by the Portland Trail Blazers after trailing by 34 at one point.

The Lakers must hope that won’t actually be the case for LeBron. Otherwise, this season could be on the ropes — and quick.

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