All went well for the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of their Christmas Day game against the Warriors, as they led by 15 points at the end of two quarters at Oracle Arena.
Then LeBron James went down.
With just over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, James lost his footing in the paint and appeared to tweak his left groin. Following a Lakers timeout, James was removed from the game, and he did not return.
Depending on your lip-reading skills, James could be seen mouthing, “I heard it pop” after he was injured, suggesting it to be significant at first.
LeBron James: 'I felt it pop'— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) December 26, 2018
He went back to the locker room with an apparent groin injury pic.twitter.com/hrBu1PwbiP
LeBron confirmed after the game he indeed heard a pop and that he "Just overextended my groin I guess."
"With injuries, I'm never too concerned with them," James said, per ESPN. "I was able to walk off on my own power. I felt a pop and [tried to] see if I could stretch it a few times to see if it would relieve, but it didn't."
LeBron added that the muscle is intact, seemingly confirming an early report by Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that the Lakers star's groin strain is slight.
James will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry missed 11 games last month with a groin injury, but until that MRI comes in, we won't know about long LeBron could be sidelined. An absence like Curry's for James theoretically could sink the Lakers, who rely on him for scoring and leadership.
It didn't hurt L.A. on Tuesday, as it held a 14-point lead at the time of James’ exit, and nearly doubled that after his removal. The Lakers outscored the Warriors by 17 in the fourth quarter of their dominant 127-101 win over the reigning back-to-back NBA champions.