LeBron James out vs. Timberwolves with ankle injury, admits fatigue hitting him and the Lakers

The Lakers are currently 15-13 and in third place in the Pacific Division

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will miss their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night due to tendinitis in his left ankle.

The announcement came just after the Lakers fell 124-108 to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, where James finished just shy of a triple-double. He had 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in 37 minutes in that game at the United Center.

This is now the second time in two weeks that James has missed the second game of a back-to-back. It’s also in the middle of what has been a very busy schedule for the Lakers, who are coming off their championship run at the inaugural NBA in-season tournament earlier this month. That schedule, James admitted Wednesday night, is taking its toll.

“It’s a combination of everything,” James said, via ESPN. “I mean, it’s the emotional fatigue, it’s the physical fatigue, it’s the grind-of-the-season fatigue. And when you’re not winning, obviously, that’s the frustration fatigue. So, a little combination of everything.”

LeBron James and the Lakers have gone just 1-4 since they won the inaugural NBA Cup earlier this month in Las Vegas
LeBron James and the Lakers have gone just 1-4 since they won the inaugural NBA Cup earlier this month in Las Vegas. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

James shined in the in-season tournament. He was named the event’s MVP while averaging 26.4 points, eight rebounds and 7.6 assists. He shot nearly 57% from the field, too. Since that championship win over the Indiana Pacers, however, the Lakers have struggled. They’ve now lost three straight since hoisting the NBA Cup and have won just one of their last four games. That’s dropped them to 15-13 headed into Thursday night’s game in Minneapolis.

James, who will turn 39 later this month, is averaging 25.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game this season, his 21st in the league. James has not played in more than 56 games in a single campaign since 2020 due to various injuries.

LeBron James headshot
LeBron James
SF - LAL - #23
2023 - 2024 season

The Timberwolves, who hold a Western Conference-best record of 20-6, are coming off a 127-113 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

The Lakers will wrap up their three-game road trip Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder before returning to Los Angeles for a Christmas Day game against the Boston Celtics. Including Thursday night’s game, the Lakers have six contests in the remaining 11 days in 2023 — including another back-to-back.

"There's no break coming. No help coming. There's no cavalry," Anthony Davis said Wednesday night. "We've got to do it within this locker room ... We just got to find a way to get in the win column."

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