A Christmas Day game with LeBron James on the court was put into doubt this weekend when the Los Angeles Lakers superstar missed his first game of the season and was listed as day-to-day.
James did not take the court Sunday against the Denver Nuggets due to a thoracic muscle strain around his rib cage and a nagging groin issue, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. He was doubtful before the game and reportedly played through the pain in the two games previous.
The Lakers will play their arena-mate Los Angeles Clippers in a much-anticipated Christmas Day matchup and James’ injury put a question mark on if all the stars would align.
But the Lakers will have both James and Anthony Davis — who tweaked his ankle on Sunday — healthy on Christmas. According to ESPN, the Lakers conducted an impromptu practice on Christmas Eve and both their stars are expected to play on Wednesday, much to the relief of the NBA:
Reporting with @McTen: Stars are aligned for Lakers-Clippers on Christmas Day. Lakers conducted impromptu practice this morning and LeBron James (groin) and Anthony Davis (knee) are expected to play vs. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard at 8 PM ET on ABC.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 24, 2019
James sustained his injury against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, and played through it in that game and against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers had lost three straight heading into the game.
Davis tweaked his ankle in Sunday’s loss. He did return to the game. The Clippers were without defensive star Patrick Beverley, who is rehabbing a sore groin, and could be without him again on Christmas.
The matchup, one of five Christmas day games, is expected to be a preview of the Western Conference final. Clippers star Kawhi Leonard skipped Sunday’s matchup as part of his load management protocol, so he should be ready to go for Wednesday.
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