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Report: LeBron James likely to face ankle pain throughout postseason

Lakers star LeBron James

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 30: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts end of the game after losing to the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on April 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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When LeBron James said he’d never get back to 100% in his career, he was talking about the realities of playing in the NBA at age 36 and beyond.

But he has a more direct concern right now – an ankle injury that sidelined him for 20 games (the longest absence of his career) and, after a two-game return, has him sitting another three games or more.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

LeBron famously played the last three games of the 2018 NBA Finals with what he described a broken hand (after punching a whiteboard following a Game 1 loss, but still). He has a high pain tolerance.

But succeeding in the playoffs is difficult when fully healthy. Even if he can play through the pain, a hobbled LeBron would be less effective.

At this point, LeBron and the Lakers must just figure out how to get him as healthy as possible for the playoffs. However, resting him more now risks a complication. If the Lakers fall into the dreaded play-in tournament, they’d have to play more games just to make the playoffs rather than getting a few-day-long break.

It’s just a difficult situation.