An MRI confirmed that LeBron James suffered a left groin strain on Christmas Day, the Los Angeles Lakers announced in a press release that listed James as day-to-day on Wednesday, but Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry thinks it could be at least closer to a week before James returns.
“You got to take those first four or five days, that was what my experience was, to make sure you don’t do any more damage. You have to let the healing process start. That is one you can’t really rush. That is how I felt because it was such a delicate area.”
“The biggest frustration is that you get to a point where you are pain-free but you still have to be a little bit more cautious. I don’t know the severity [of LeBron’s injury], but becoming pain-free is just one step. And then you have to ramp up your load on the court to make sure everything you do won’t set you back. That is the one thing that you can’t afford with that injury, is to keep reinjuring it.”
Of course, the entire league probably prefers James takes all the time in the world to return.
As Curry said, he has no insight into the degree to which James strained his groin, although he was on the floor when James suffered the injury midway through the second quarter of Golden State’s loss to L.A. on Tuesday. Curry also made sure to note that James has been remarkably resilient throughout his 16-year career, missing more than seven games in a single season just once — in 2014-15, when knee and back injuries cost him two weeks and eight games around the same point in the season.
If history is any indication, James could return from his injury quicker than Curry did his in November. James strained his right groin while with the Miami Heat in December 2013 and returned three days later, missing a single game. He was 28 years old at the time. He turns 34 on Sunday, and unless he is superhuman, which is entirely possible, muscle strains become more difficult to recover from.
James did not make the trip to Sacramento for Thursday’s game against the Kings. The Lakers play again at home on Friday against the Clippers. If James is truly day-to-day and not, as Curry said, “four or five days away” from beginning the rehab process — and in danger of missing a more significant string of games — we may not yet be at the point where minor injuries mean anything to the veteran.
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